|Photos by Ned Harris 12/4/2013|
There are two species of mistletoe in Sabino Canyon; both are members of the Sandalwood Family (Santalaceae) and both are hemi-parasites, i.e., they photosynthesize (so they aren't full parasites), but use another plants infrastructure to take in water and nutrients (that's the parasitic part).
Botan-nerd-y note: The genus Phoradendron comes from the Greek "phor" = thief and "dendron" = tree.
The species above is Desert Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) and is most commonly noticed in Velvet Mesquite (Prosopsis velutina) trees.
We call this species Big-leaf Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum ssp. macrophyllum). Lyn spotted this one growing from a dead-looking Velvet Ash (Fraxinus velutina) in the area below the dam. Look for this species in other riparian trees like Goodding Willow (Salix gooddingii); Arizona Sycamore (Platanus wrightii); and Fremont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii).