|Christmas Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum.|
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Phoradendron macrophyllum occurs on many hardwoods including cottonwood, ash, black locust, hackberry, maple, walnut, sycamore and willow from west Texas to northern California. It does not infect oak. It has well developed, slightly hairy leaves. It is conspicuous in winter when host trees loose their leaves and is harvested as Christmas Mistletoe in Arizona.
Its' green twigs carry on photosynthesis but as a parasite it takes up water and nutrients through its roots that grow into the cambium and xylem of the host.
Mistletoe is important since it provides essential food, cover, and nesting sites for an amazing number of creatures in the United States and elsewhere. In fact, some animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe, including some birds, butterflies, and insects.
While mistletoe is toxic to people, the berries and leaves of mistletoe provide high-protein fodder for many mammals, especially in autumn and winter when other foods are scarce. Researchers have documented that animals such as elk, cattle and deer eat mistletoe during winter.
Height: About 2 - 3 feet in diameter..
Flowers: Bright yellow - green inconspicuous flowers.
Flowering Time: January to February.
Fruit: The female plants produce numerous, spherical, translucent, white, pink, or red berries.
Leaves: The dioecious, narrow, linear, stalkless leaves are untoothed, with recurved (rolled) margins, coverd with a fine grey down, usually giving a grey-green overall appearance. Leaves are basically reduced to scales.
Found: Native to the USA (AZ, CA, NM, TX). Also native to northern Mexico in northern Sonora, northern Chihuahua, Baja Norte, Baja California, & Coahuila.
Soil pH requirements:
Elevation: 0 - 4,900 Feet.
Habitat: Parasite of many hardwoods including cottonwood, ash, black locust, hackberry, maple, walnut, sycamore and willow trees.
Miscellaneous: Photos Taken June 13, 2003. Near Date Creek, Arizona.
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