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Family: Viscaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Santalales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • MISTLETOE - English, United States of America
  • CHRISTMAS MISTLETOE - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: The single nc TX species is an evergreen parasite on tree branches often deforming the branch at point of attachment; fruits mucilaginous, translucent-whitish; this species becomes very conspicuous on deciduous trees when they lose their leaves for the winter.


Notes: A medium-sized (385 species in 7 genera), cosmopolitan, but especially tropical and warm area family of photosynthesizing parasites of trees; haustoria actually penetrate and branch in host tissue. The family was formerly recognized as a subfamily in the Loranthaceae. Some are problematic parasites while others are sources of Christmas mistletoe. Family name from Viscum, MISTLETOE, a genus of 100 species native from temperate regions to the Old World tropics. (Classical Latin name for mistletoe; possibly related to Latin: viscos, sticky) (subclass Rosidae)