Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mistletoe Taxillus chinensis in Singapore

I think it was not long ago that Dr John Yong first recorded this species of mistletoe in Singapore but to its whereabouts I do not know. Today, however, I am pleasantly surprised to encounter one living specimen parasitic on a Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii) - a small tree about 5m tall.

This beautiful mistletoe is flowering and young fruits abound at the moment. Called by its TCM medicinal name Guang Ji Sheng, its natural distribution ranges from Southern China, through to Indo-China, Malay Peninsular to the Philippines.

Here below is a series of photos showing the various characters of the mistletoe. More info can be gotten from the Flora of China website here.

Flower: Greenish-brown, scurfy hairy; anthers 4 red; stigma red; corolla lobes 4.

Leaves: elliptic, brittle, 3 to 4cm long, edge wavy; young leaves golden brown, scurfy hairy.

Haustoria: slender, snaking; host stem seemingly swollen locally when infected.

Fruit: round to cylindrical; surface wrinkled.

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