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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Characteristics of Mistletoe Plants

Large-leaf mistletoes are evergreen perennial parasitic plants that grow on woody plants, extracting moisture and nutrients from their host. They have shrubby stems, and thick, nearly oval leaves. Healthy trees can tolerate a few mistletoe branch infections, but individual branches may be weakened or sometimes killed.

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Mistletoe plants are either male or female. The female plant produces berries, which contain many sticky seeds.

Sticky mistletoe seeds fall onto trees through bird droppings or mistletoe plants higher in the tree canopy. The seeds germinate and grow through the bark of trees.

When the mistletoe plant reaches the water conducting tissue of the tree, rootlike structures develop, extending up and down the branch.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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