Saturday, March 22, 2014

Harlequin Mistletoe

Lysiana exocarpi
We found this pretty mistletoe growing on Bull Oak Allocasuarina luehmannii at Lake Broadwater yesterday.

It is a delicate-looking little plant. Below, you see its haustorium, the closest it gets to having a root, at the point where the little woody branches of the mistletoe join a a small branch of its host. Like all mistletoes, it is only partly parasitic. Its own leaves produce its food, by photosyntheses, but it depends on its host for the theings that most plants get from their roots - water and minerals.


Its long narrow leaves are a little broader than the bull oak's branchlets, but still manage to hide themselves there very effectively. The plant is usually only noticed when it produces its gaudy flowers.
 The flowers at Lake Broadwater were later in the season than I would expect. Earlier flowers had resulted in these pretty fruits.
I am uncertain whether it really belongs on this blog, as I have only seen it on bull oaks near Dalby, on both sides of the Condamine - and they are plants of sandy rather than basalt soil. However it has been known to grow on a wide variety of other plant species Including some introduced ones (olives, oleanders) and on other mistletoes.
I think of it as a western mistletoe, but I am aware of an early record of it having been recorded as growing on a scrub boonaree Alectryon diversifolius at Gladfield (near Cunningham’s gap).
Can any of my readers tell me of other places on the Eastern Darling Downs where it grows?

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