Phoradendron leucarpum

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Phoradendron leucarpum
American Mistletoe (NGM XXXI p514).jpg
Phoradendron leucarpum[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Santalales
Family: Santalaceae
Genus: Phoradendron
P. leucarpum
Binomial name
Phoradendron leucarpum
Occurrence data from GBIF
  • Phoradendron flavescens (Pursh) Nutt. ex A. Gray
  • Phoradendron serotinum (Raf.) M. C. Johnst.
  • Phoradendron tomentosum (DC.) A. Gray
  • Phoradendron villosum (Nutt.) Engelm.
  • Viscum leucarpum Raf. (basionym)
  • Viscum serotinum Raf.
  • Viscum tomentosum DC.
  • Viscum villosum Nutt.

Phoradendron leucarpum is a species of mistletoe in the Viscaceae family which is native to the United States and Mexico. Its common names include American mistletoe, eastern mistletoe, hairy mistletoe and oak mistletoe. It is native to Mexico and the continental United States.[3] It is hemiparasitic, living in the branches of trees. The berries are white and 3–6 millimeters (0.12–0.24 in).[4][5] It has opposite leaves that are leathery and thick. [6] Ingesting the berries can cause "stomach and intestinal irritation with diarrhea, lowered blood pressure, and slow pulse".[4][7] This shrub can grow to 1 meter (3.3 ft) by 1 meter (3.3 ft).[7]

Culture and tradition[edit]

Phoradendron leucarpum is used in North America as a surrogate for the similar European mistletoe Viscum album, in Christmas decoration and associated traditions (such as "kissing under the mistletoe"), as well as in rituals by modern druids. It is commercially harvested and sold for those purposes.[8]

Phoradendron leucarpum is the state floral emblem for the state of Oklahoma. The state did not have an official flower, leaving mistletoe as the assumed state flower until the Oklahoma Rose was designated as such in 2004.[9]


Over 60 species of trees are hosts to P. leucarpum, especially trees in the genera of Acer (maple), Fraxinus (ash), Juglans (walnuts), Nyssa, Platanus (plane trees), Populus (poplars), Quercus (oaks), Salix (willows), and Ulmus (elms).[2]


While the sticky substance covering the fruits is toxic to humans, it is a favorite of some birds.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ illustration by Mary E. Eaton, "Our State Flowers: The Floral Emblems Chosen by the Commonwealths", The National Geographic Magazine, XXXI (June 1917), p. 514.
  2. ^ a b eflora North America; Phoradendron leucarpum Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Phoradendron leucarpum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved January 14, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Phoradendron leucarpum (P. serotinum)". North Carolina State University. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "Phoradendron Mistletoe". Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "Oak Mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum))". Carolina Nature. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Phoradendron leucarpum - (Raf.)Reveal.&M.C.Johnst". Plants For A Future. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "Mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum)". Purdue University. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  9. ^ "Oklahoma State Symbols". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  10. ^ Niering, William A.; Olmstead, Nancy C. (1985) [1979]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Knopf. p. 622. ISBN 0-394-50432-1.