Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mistletoe

The plant you kiss under at Christmas, hangs from the mango tree near the gymkhana bridge. Don't really try it under this plant, in the middle of the highway. You've seen the flowers before.

The seeds are usually deposited by birds and the seed splits through the bark of the tree and sets root. This parasitic plant then sucks up water from the tree and perhaps even nutrition. They have leaves though so they can photosynthesize for themselves. In IISc this species seems to be attack mostly mango trees. I wonder if these parasites are host specific...

2 comments:

Ravi Masalthi said...

I was wondering about the same when I noticed a rather spectacular mistletoe in the valley of flowers as seen in this post. After looking around a little bit I found out Stem Parasitic plants are not really host specific. For example desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) commonly grows on cat-claw acacia (Acacia greggii), however it is also seen on other shrubs. Parasitic plant seeds getting dispersed mostly through bird droppings need to glue to the host stem until they germinate. So nature of the host stem would probably play a selector there. And the process of the parasite's haustorium getting completely attached to the host's xylem and phloem happens by responding to a chemical gradient, that would probably be another selector.
I liked your pictures a lot. Nice blog!

-ravi

Veena said...

Hi Natasha, I liked all ur pics here:) Abi had introduced me to ur blog... I have used this bridge to cross so many times but not even noticed it... Well, i will do it next time I cross or rather use the bridge to see this!! Nice Blog!! Keep going!!! Cheers!