Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Parasitic plant, Which Mistletoe?

A neighbors bottlebrush tree has been harbouring this odd parasitic plant. Recent wild winds broke off several branches of the tree, revealing this curious lodger within.

Woody stems, fleshy leaves and these odd flowers, all relying on the bottlebrush to keep it alive. I suppose it could be a Mistletoe, but just guessing there. Most curious.

15 comments:

Lavender said...

Its been growing in there quite a long time by the look of it, and yet no one (human) knew it was there till now...makes me wonder what other interesting things are going on around me that I havent discovered yet :)

Lavender said...

Having spent a bit of time googling and wikipedia-ing Im confident that this is a Misteltoe - but I couldnt tell you which one! I never knew there were so many kinds, its mind boggling!

Anonymous said...

It's rather attractive, so as long as it doesn't strangle the bottlebrush to death it would be safe to leave it there? I know nothing of 'Mistletoe' nor there is more than one of them - apart from Americans kissing under it at Christmas time? Probably have that wrong too! Hhahhahaaa. I'm guessing it's a weed here like Prickly Pear...

Lavender said...

Gday Anon I wondered the same thing, but after spending about 45 minutes doing searches and reading (when I should have been elsewhere, of course! Tehehe) I found that although it can kill its host tree, it often doesnt.
And even more interesting, is that there are several types right here in Oz - but so many I couldnt keep at it till I found out which one this is....(shameful, such shoddy reporting here!)
Apparently, kissing under mistletoe started in England? (If we can trust the source!) Might have something to do with the Druids, who think highly of it...well, thier variety anyway tehehe
I was really amazed at the amount of info out there - staggering!

If anyone out there is looking for more info:
a synopsis of Mistletoe at Wikipedia
and
information overload on one branch of the Mistletoe family at Parasitic Plants.siu.edu

Young Werther said...

Fortunately haven't found anything odd in my Bottlebrushes. Warm weather, gardening time again, weeding, mowing, pruning.

Think I've finally caught up with the office chores, hope all is well...

Lavender said...

Good to have you back Young Werther! Takes a bit of hard slog to catch up doesnt it - hang in there!
Weeds - ergh!!! I just finished rescuing the gardens myself...black fingernails are always attractive :)

Anonymous said...

OH!!!! I recognise the photograph of the Mistletoe bush on a eucalyptus tree from your first link and have a vague memory of Dad pointing them out. How bizarre! There are parasites growing amongst us and we don’t notice!!!

barkfoot said...

Yes, it does look like a mistletoe, but which one? The leaves look similar to the 'Grey Upright' but greener. Most Mistletoe have pendulous flowers, so these upright ones would point to some of the New Zealand species, maybe 'Peraxilla Colensoi'?
In England it grows freely on apple trees and far from killing them, is encouraged as it has always been associated with good fortune. I think the kissing under Mistletoe comes from Norse Mythology, something about one god being killed by Mistletoe, bought back to life and then it representing only love from there on.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It sdoesn't look too much like a mistletoe, but the above comments know better.

Sandy Carlson said...

Now I know what that looks like. This is a beautiful photo. Happy WW!

Bare Bones Gardener said...

As pretty as it looks it still sucks strength from your tree. Because it's roots are growing inside the branch of the host tree, sucking life from the host and weakening the area and host. Also making the host more susceptible to other pests and diseases.

But on the upside its fruit provides food for many of our native birds who eat them and then deposit the seed mixed in their dung on the branches of other trees to germinate there in cracks in the barks

Lavender said...

Anon How cool that you saw one you recognized - theres SO MANY of them! And if the branches hadnt come off in those winds, we would still have no idea! :)

Barkfoot I noticed that many of them had pendant flowers, Id hoped it would make identifying it easier LOL! Can you bleieve how many kinds there are, amazing! Better brush up on my Norse mythology - that sounds like an interesting tale - Thanks Mate!

Captain I was absolutely amazed at the number of varieties in this group - its staggering! Up till finding this specimen, Id only ever seen artificial mistletoe, now I can say it was a bad copy of any of them LOL!

Sandy Thanks Sandy! And to think this is just one kind of it - amaaing!

Lavender said...

Gday bare bones gardener and thanks for stopping by!
Thats a nice synopsis of the situation youve shared there, thank you! Will have to spend some time checking out your blog later today - see you there, Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! This is definitively a mistletoe from the "showy mistletoe"-family (Loranthaceae)and the genus Dendrophthoe. It is not within the same family as the European (or North American) 'kissing' mistletoes which belong to the aptly named "christmas mistletoes" - more reknown for their berries than their very small flowers.
Enjoy your wonderful parasite!

Lavender said...

Well spotted - thank you for passing that on - I will have fun learning more about these quite cool plants.
Cheers!