Family, Mistletoe. Color of stems, yellowish; of berries, white. Leaves, opposite, leathery, thick, 1-ribbed, entire, oval or oblong, blunt, with short petioles, 1 to 2 inches long. Staminate flowers, composed of a 3-lobed calyx, and 1 stamen at the base of each lobe with a 2-celled sessile anther. Pistillate flowers, a single berry-like ovary, surrounded by a 3-lobed calyx. Fruit, a fleshy berry. Flowers, in axillary clusters. May to July.
Shrubs parasitic on trees, especially the tupelo and red maple, from central New Jersey southward. The mistletoe sold so much on our city streets at Christmas time is Viscum album, imported from England. It grows on many fruit and forest trees, especially the apple tree, being not specially injurious to them, the Lombardy poplar alone being exempt. It bears yellow flowers in February or March, and ripens fruit the next autumn. Bird-lime is derived from the viscid pulp of the berries. Birds are the propagators of this parasite, since they eat the berries and wipe their bills upon the branches of trees, leaving a seed to germinate. It was held sacred by the ancient Druids when found, as it seldom is, growing upon an oak.