Male mistletoe (Viscum album) flowers

Male mistletoe (Viscum album) flowers

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Flowering mistletoe (Viscum album). Terminal inflorescence of male flowers on a mistletoe plant, photographed in March in Norfolk, UK. Each flower consists of four fleshy sepals (yellow), fused to stamens bearing pollen (small brighter particles). At the bottom right a berry is visible. Mistletoe flowers are small and are pollinated by flies or by the wind. They lack a corolla (petals), and arise from the tip of the stem between the terminal leaves. Each inflorescence develops only male (as here) or female flowers. The site of the inflorescence prevents further stem extension; instead branches are produced from the base of the flower stalk. This results in the typical open and regular branching structure of the whole mistletoe plant, which - barring accidental damage - can appear as a spherical ball of green in winter.

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Keywords: berry, fly pollination, inflorescence, mistletoe, pollen, pollination, sepal, stamen, viscum album, wind pollination

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