Mistletoe berries (Viscum album)

Mistletoe berries (Viscum album)

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fruits of common mistletoe, Viscum album. The picture was taken in Norfolk, UK in February. The picture shows a cluster of three berries. The plant is evergreen, with leaves visible in the background. Mistletoe is a parasite; at the point of attachment it penetrates the host tissue and withdraws water and nutrients, although it retains its own photosynthetic ability. The flowers are inconspicuous and produced in spring; the berries do not fully ripen until late winter. Its seeds are dispersed by birds. Some species eat the berries and spread the seeds in their droppings; others wipe the sticky seed from their beak without ingesting it. Common hosts for mistletoe include apple trees (Malus), lime (Tilia) and hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). The host of this plant is a roadside Swedish whitebeam (Sorbus intermedia).

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Keywords: apple, berry, cratageus monogyna, hawthorn, lime, malus, mistletoe, parasitic plant, seed dispersal, sorbus intermedia, swedish whitebean, tilia, viscum album

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