Phoradendron californicum Nutt.

Desert Mistletoe
Viscaceae (Mistletoe Family)


Desert mistletoe is a hemiparasitic shrub on the branches mostly of Acacia, Dalea, Prosopsis, Olneya, and Cercidium.  It appears as a clustered mass of slender, terete stems to 40" long, and is generally pendent in age, reddish to green.  The leaves are scalelike and the flowers are minute and unisexual.  The staminate inflorescences are 4-10-flowered, and the pistillate ones are 2-3-flowered.  The fruit is globose, white to reddish-pink, about 1/8" in diameter. Desert mistletoe is spread from host to host largely by birds as they feed, and it blooms from January to March.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Phoradendron 2) californicum.
Pronunciation: fore-a-DEN-dron ka-li-FOR-ni-kum.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.