DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Common mistletoe (Viscum album) on a small Swedish whitebeam (Sorbus intermedia) tree. The picture was taken in Norfolk, UK in December. The mistletoe has retained its leaves (centre, green), and is carrying developing fruits ("berries"), which appear as white spheres. The red berries visible are fruits of the host tree. 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).
Model release not required. Property release not required.