Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Presented in Association with the
Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences

Phoradendron juniperinum Engelmann ex Gray subsp. juniperinum
(Juniper Mistletoe)

Family: Santalaceae, formerly Viscaceae

Status: Native

Synonyms:
None

Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum is found growing on junipers at lower to middle elevation. It appears to be all jointed stem, although there are scale like leaves. This is one of the most common mistletoes in the Gila National Forest. Large knots can form at the junction of host and parasite tissue, where modified parasite roots called "haustoria" penetrate into the host. The one-seeded berry has a thin outer layer covering a sticky gelatinous interior that coats the small seed which is slightly hairy and shaped like a turnip.
The plants bear either all staminate (male) or carpellate (female) flowers, meaning they are dioecious. The carpellate flowers have three small triangular tepals surrounding a nectar disc and a punctate stigma. The inferior ovary is 3-carpellate and the ovules are undifferentiated-- they appear as a mass of small cells in the center of the ovary in cross-section. The carpellate flowers are arranged in obvious groups of three along the inflorescence. Phorandendron is pollinated by a variety of flies, ants and beetles.
Please click on an image for a larger file.



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, Sept. 23, 2007



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, macro of branch, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, Nov. 17, 2007



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, macro of fruits, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, Nov. 17, 2007



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, junction of host and parasite tissue, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, Dec. 24, 2008



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, entire berry on right, gelatinous center and outer covering in center, and bare seed on left, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, Jan. 3, 2009



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, closeup of stem & leaves, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, December 8, 2009



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, macro of cross section of stem, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, December 8, 2009



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, grouping of three carpellate flowers on inflorescence, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, February 3, 2018



Phoradendron juniperinum subsp. juniperinum, photomicrograph of cross-section of ovary with mass of small central cells making up the three undifferentiated ovules containing the megagametophytes, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, February 3, 2018


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