Thursday, January 15, 2009

Banana Mistletoe

Lysiana subfalcata
Well, the more usual common names for this plant are “sandalwood mistletoe” (but it grows on a lot of other kinds of plant as well), or the rather boring “northern mistletoe”. A better common name is clearly needed.

This lovely set of buds was on a scrub boonaree Alectryon diversifolium. Over the road, it was blooming away on a warrior bush Apophyllum anomalum.
I made an error in my book “Toowoomba Plants” with this one. (Pause here and imagine me blushing). I was not familiar with the plant at the time, so repeated what I had read, that the flowers were red. Apparently this is the “default”colour for this species, but locally, as you can see, they are a bright banana yellow with green petals.
Like so many of our locals they are well-adapted to the climate, taking advantage of the variable weather and microclimates to flower when it suits them best. This is usually between spring and autumn, but I have seen them in June.
If you find some yellow-flowering mistletoes, check to see whether the flowers are in pairs. If so then what you have is Lysiana subfalcata.
You’ll find it on all kinds of hosts in our local scrubs. It will also grow on Oleanders, so it obviously very broad-minded about its hosts. If you want to grow it, give it a try on a small, healthy branchlet on any suitable smooth-barked tree or shrub.

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