PLANTS: Perennial shrubs, aerial parasites on dicotyledonous plants and conifers; implanted by means of a primary penetrating organ (haustorium), elaborating laterally in the water-conducting tissues of the host (through the endophytic system); dioecious (in ours) or monoecious. SHOOTS: woody or nonwoody, brittle, densely branched. LEAVES: simple, entire, decussate, or absent. INFLORESCENCE: axillary spikes (in ours) or cymules (sometimes terminal). FLOWERS: minute (2-4 mm), with a single series of 2-7 tepals; staminate flower with anthers opposite perianth segments; pistillate flower with an inferior ovary, the style unbranched. FRUIT: a single-seeded mucilaginous berry. SEED: without a thickened seed coat, eaten and distributed primarily by birds or dispersed explosively in Arceuthobium. NOTES: 7 genera, 450 spp., north temperate, subtropical, or tropical regions. Includes the common European mistletoe, Yiscum album. These mistletoes were formerly considered to be a subfamily of the Loranthaceae but family status for the Viscaceae is now generally recognized. Calder, M. and F. Bernhardt. 1983. The Biology ofMistletoes. Academic Press, Sydney. REFERENCES: Hawksworth, Frank G. 1994. Viscaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 27(2), 241-245.
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