Shrubs, parasitic on trees, with opposite coriaceous flat entire or undulate faintly nerved leaves, terete or angled, usually jointed and brittle twigs, and dioecious axillary spicate bracted small flowers, solitary or several in the axil of each bract. Staminate flowers with a 3-lobed (rarely 2-4-lobed) globose or ovoid calyx, bearing a sessile transversely 2-celled anther at the base of each lobe. Pistillate flowers with a similar calyx adnate to the ovoid inferior ovary. Style none or very short, stigma obtuse or capitate. Fruit a sessile ovoid or globose fleshy berry. Endosperm copious. [Greek, tree-thief, -from its parasitic habit.]

About 100 species, all American. Besides the following, 5 or 6 others occur in the western states and 1 in Florida. Type species: Phoradendron calif ornicum Nutt.

1. Phoradendron Flavescens (Pursh) Nutt. American Mistletoe

Fig. 1565

Viscum flavescens Pursh, Fl. Am. Sept. 114. 1814. P. flavescens Nutt.; A. Gray, Man. Ed. 2, 383. 1856.

A branching glabrous or slightly pubescent shrub, the twigs rather stout, terete, brittle at the base. Leaves oblong or obovate, rounded at the apex, narrowed into short petioles, 3-5-nerved, entire, 1-2' long, 5"-10" wide, dark green, coriaceous; petioles l"-4" long; spikes solitary, or 2 or 3 together in the axils, linear, shorter than the leaves; berry globose, white, about 2" in diameter.

Parasitic on deciduous leaved trees, notably on the tupelo and red maple, central New Jersey to Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, south to Florida, Texas and New Mexico. May-July.

1 Phoradendron Flavescens Pursh Nutt American Mist 1565