Arceuthobium pusillum Peck

dwarf mistletoe

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Dwarf mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on the branches of pine, spruce, and tamarack. It derives its nutrients from the plant, and also causes unusual growths of twigs on the host, called witches brooms, within which you can see the yellow-red shoots of dwarf mistletoe, bearing flowers and fruits. The fruits fill with fluid, building up pressure until they explode, ejecting the sticky seeds around twenty feet, where, if they stick to another host branch, they will eventually germinate.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a shrub (a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
Leaf type
the leaf blade is simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaves per node
there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
Leaf duration
the leaves remain green all winter
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf blade width
1 mm
Leaf stalk
the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is fleshy
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
Twig winter color
  • brown
  • green
  • orange
  • purple
  • red
  • yellow
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Leaf scar arrangement
    there are two leaf scars per node on the stem or twig
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
    Winter bud stalks
    the winter buds have no stalks
  • Flowers
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescences grow on the twigs
    Inflorescence type
    • the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
    • the inflorescence differs from the choices given
    • the inflorescence has only one flower on it
    Number of pistils
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal fusion
    NA
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble leaves in color and texture
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Sepal tip glands
    there are no glands at the tips of the sepal lobes
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Stamen number
    • 1 or 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Stamen position relative to petals
    the stamens are lined up with the sepals (antesepalous)
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    • green
    • some other color
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is fleshy
    Fruit type (specific)
    • the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
    • the fruit is a drupe (fleshy, with a firm inner ovary wall that encloses a single seed)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    there are no wings on the fruit
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    NA
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a shrub (a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is attenuate (tapering very gradually to a prolonged tip)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    NA
    Leaf blade scales
    • NA
    • there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is orbicular (roughly circular, as wide as long)
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is chartaceous (thin and dry like paper)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade width
    1 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves remain green all winter
    Leaf form
    the plant has leaves that are needle-like (narrow and thickened) or scale-like (small, thin and lacking leaf stalks)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk shape
    the leaf stalk is not flattened
    Leaf teeth
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant, or they fall off as the leaf expands
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor, or it has an unpleasant or repellant odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Lenticels on twigs
    there are no lenticels on the twigs, or they are very hard to see
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig winter color
    • brown
    • green
    • orange
    • purple
    • red
    • yellow
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
uncommon (S-rank: S3), special concern (code: SC)
Rhode Island
historical (S-rank: SH), state historical (code: SH)
Vermont
rare (S-rank: S2)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Razoumofskya pusilla (Peck) Kuntze

Family

Viscaceae

Genus

Arceuthobium

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