Thursday, January 7, 2010

Orange Mistletoe

Dendrophthöe glabrescens
This common mistletoe, with its unmistakable, skyward-curving flowers, is flowering on roadside gums west of Toowoomba at the moment. It is a plant of the inland, usually found west of the Great Dividing Range.
We rarely see this mistletoe on anything other than eucalypts, with mountain coolibah Eucalyptus orgadophila, being a favourite host. However, it does sometimes pop up on on some dry rainforest species (e.g. Acmena and Litsea species) and even on some introduced plants.

It is a showy mistletoe, and one which would be attractive as a garden plant, with its bright orange flowers that light up the host tree, and carpet the ground beneath.

Like the Amyema species, Dendrophthöe glabrescens is a host plant for Jezabel and Azure butterflies.

The mistletoes which we notice most often on gums are Amyema species. They attach themselves to a small branch, developing a conspicuous “join” (called a haustorium).

Haustorium, Amyema miquellii.

Dendrophthöe species don’t do this. Instead, they send a network of root-like runners snaking along and around their supporting branches, and plugging in at a number of points. The branch which supports them is not killed in the process.


Rambling Tart said...

How pretty! I've never seen this before :-)

Patricia Gardner said...

Yes, isn't it pretty? And it often occurs situated at about face-height, for our maximum viewing pleasure.