White-Dotted Red Mistletoe
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White-Dotted Red Mistletoe
P Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: White-Dotted Red Mistletoe
Botanical name: Macrosolen pseudopsilantha    Family: Loranthaceae (Mistletoe family)
Synonyms: Elytranthe pseudopsilantha

White-Dotted Red Mistletoe is a tree-dwelling parasitic shrub, with branches round or winged; wings of one internode alternating with those of one above and below. It is closely similar to Honeysuckle Mistletoe. Leaves are oppositely arranged, broadly ovate-elliptic, almost decurrent to base of leaf-stalks, thickened and curled along margins, blunt at tip, 9-13 x 4-6.5 cm, crustaceous; lateral nerves 4 or 5 pairs; leaf-stalks 4-7 mm long. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils, in clusters carried on flower-cluster-stalks 2 or 3 in each axil, almost round, 5-7 mm long, each 3- or 4-flowered, short; each subtended by 3 or 4 whorls of large ovate-pointed bracts; flower buds curved, spoon-shaped, 1.8-2.2 cm long. Flowers are 3-4 cm long; bract and bracteoles equal, ovate or round, 4-4.5 x 3.5-4 mm. Calyculus tubular, flat with wavy margin; tube split unilaterally 2-3 mm long. Petals are 6, united at base; tube round, equally split up to one-third to half the length, densely white-dotted, 1.8-2.2 cm long; lobes 6, linear or elliptic, reflexed and coiled, ribbed, 1.2-1.8 cm long. Stamens are 6, recurved; filaments 6-8 mm long; anthers linear, 4-locular, 2-2.5 mm long. Ovary is almost spherical; style 4-gonous; stigma almost spherical, lobed. Fruits are broadly ellipsoid-ovoid, smooth, hairless, crowned by persistent tubular calyculus, 9-11 x 7-8 mm. White-Dotted Red Mistletoe is found in evergreen forests above 1000 m altitude on a variety of hosts, in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Flowering: November-February.

Identification credit: Suranjan Fernando, Navendu Pagé Photographed in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

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