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Phoradendron tomentosum (Christmas mistletoe)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Phoradendron tomentosum

Phoradendron tomentosum (DC.) Engelm. ex A. Gray

Christmas Mistletoe, Mistletoe, Injerto

Viscaceae (Christmas Mistletoe Family)

Synonym(s): Phoradendron flavescens var. pubescens, Phoradendron serotinum var. pubescens

USDA Symbol: PHTO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

An evergreen shrub parasitic on trees. Widely used in the United States as a Christmas decoration. Stems smooth, green, brittle. Leaf blades thick, leathery, roughly elliptic, up to 2 inches long and 1 1/8 inches wide, with smooth margins, a rounded tip, and tapered base. Plants male or female, easily distinguished in winter by shiny, white berries 3/16 inch wide on the female, and spikes of greenish yellow flowers on the male. Especially common on Sugar Hackberry (Celtis laevigata), Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia), and Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), also on other trees.


From the Image Gallery

38 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Stems up to about 3 feet long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec



From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0550 Collected Jan 2, 1988 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0373 Collected Mar 7, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.
Bibref 1208 - The New Healing Herbs (1995) Michael Castleman

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1987 VOL. 4, NO.4 - Wildflower Center Sows Seeds for the Country, Hotline for Texas, New Goals Plans...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Phoradendron tomentosum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Phoradendron tomentosum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Phoradendron tomentosum


Record Modified: 2023-01-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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