Mistletoe is a plant we often don’t think about or even consider decorating our homes with until this time of year, but the Central Highlands are full of it all year long. The most common mistletoe you’ll see here is Phoradendron coryae, Cory’s Mistletoe, that grows on oaks through Arizona. They are a popular winter plant because they are evergreen, meaning they are always green and do not lose their leaves in the fall, and because they have berries from October-January. This species is also dioecious, meaning individuals either produce pollen or the flower and seed but not both. Another unique thing about mistletoe is that it is parasitic. They do not place any roots in the ground, so their water and nutrients come from the plant they attach themselves to. It is not very common though for mistletoe to kill its host. This winter, take a walk and discover the mistletoe around your home or at the Highlands center. Make sure to look up and inspect all the oaks for that bright green bushel of mistletoe.
In this image oak leaves on on the left, Mistletoe is on the right.