Monday, December 6, 2010

Mistletoe tree....

There was a mistletoe tree in the garden! I was so thrilled. Not sure why, it was just so lovely. This photo is not so good....but it was soooooo cold I was just pointing and shooting and not worrying too much about the picture. Have just had a weekend with friends in the country..lots of walking, drinking and eating and just enjoying a break from our work lives. I do appreciate the fact that we are able to book these breaks away. Sadly, the house we stayed in was so lovely I did'nt want to come home! Yet now we're back I realise how lucky I am here too...a roof, central heating, water, drink, food, t'interwebby stuff and two cats that seem to have missed us......and I am beginning to feel the Christmas spirit............

3 comments:

Steve said...

That's an incredible looking tree... the artist in me would love to sketch it.

Marcheline said...

Just in case you weren't kidding about "mistletoe tree"...

Mistletoe plants grow on a wide range of host trees, and commonly reduce their growth but can kill them with heavy infestation. Viscum album can parasitise more than 200 tree and shrub species. Almost all mistletoes are hemi-parasites, bearing evergreen leaves that do some photosynthesis, and using the host mainly for water and mineral nutrients. However, the mistletoe first sprouts from bird feces[citation needed] on the trunk of the tree and indeed in its early stages of life takes it nutrients from this source.[citation needed] An exception is the leafless quintral, Tristerix aphyllus, which lives deep inside the sugar-transporting tissue of a spiny cactus, appearing only to show its tubular red flowers.[6] The genus Arceuthobium (dwarf mistletoe; Santalaceae) has reduced photosynthesis; as an adult, it manufactures only a small proportion of the sugars it needs from its own photosythesis but as a seedling it actively photosynthesizes until a connection to the host is established.

Some species of the largest family, Loranthaceae, have small, insect-pollinated flowers (as with Santalaceae), but others have spectacularly showy, large, bird-pollinated flowers.

Most mistletoe seeds are spread by birds, such as the Mistle Thrush in Europe, the Phainopepla in southwestern North America, and Dicaeum of Asia and Australia. However, distinguishing between this species and ones of other ecological biomes is not difficult. They derive sustenance and agility through eating the fruits and nuts (drupes). The seeds are excreted in their droppings and stick to twigs, or more commonly the bird grips the fruit in its bill, squeezes the sticky coated seed out to the side, and then wipes its bill clean on a suitable branch.[citation needed] The seeds are coated with a sticky material called viscin (containing both cellulosic strands and mucopolysaccharides), which hardens and attaches the seed firmly to its future host.

libby said...

Although I called it a mistletoe tree I did realise that it wasn't ... probably an apple tree? but thanks Marcheline.....although Mistletoe is really a sort of parasite I was just so happy to see one in reality.