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Taxon  Report  
Phoradendron californicum  Nutt.
California mesquite mistletoe,   Desert mistletoe,   Mesquite mistletoe
Phoradendron californicum is a shrub (parasitic) that is native to California, and also found elsewhere in western North America.
Siskiyou Del Norte Modoc Humboldt Shasta Lassen Trinity Plumas Tehama Butte Mendocino Glenn Sierra Yuba Lake Nevada Colusa Placer Sutter El Dorado Yolo Alpine Napa Sonoma Sacramento Mono Amador Solano Calaveras Tuolumne San Joaquin Marin Contra Costa Alameda Santa Cruz Mariposa Madera San Francisco San Mateo Merced Fresno Stanislaus Santa Clara Inyo San Benito Tulare Kings Monterey San Bernardino San Luis Obispo Kern Santa Barbara Ventura Los Angeles Riverside Orange San Diego Imperial
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Bloom Period
Genus: Phoradendron
Family: Viscaceae  
Category: angiosperm  
PLANTS group:Dicot
Jepson eFlora section: eudicot

Toxicity: Do not eat any part (esp. the flower) of this plant.

Communities: Creosote Bush Scrub

Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + PLANTS

Alternate Names:
JEF + PLANTSPhoradendron californicum var. distans
JEF + PLANTSPhoradendron californicum var. leucocarpum
Information about  Phoradendron californicum from other sources
Nursery availability from CNPLX
Commercial availability unknown.
Jepson eFlora

USDA PLANTS Profile (PHCA8)

Photos on Calflora

Photos on CalPhotos

Google Images

Photos on iNaturalist

ID Tips on PlantID.net

[Wikipedia] Hemiparasitic, Flowers, Fruits, Seed Dispersement: The mistletoe is a leafless plant that attaches to host plants, often leguminous woody desert trees such as Cercidium and Prosopis.[2] Desert mistletoe takes water and minerals from its host plants but it does its own photosynthesis,[2] making it a hemiparasite. During the winter it produces inconspicuous, fragrant flowers. Female desert mistletoe plants produce red to clear berries that are eaten by the phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), a silky flycatcher, which then spreads the seeds. Phainopeplas cannot digest the seed of desert mistletoe, so the birds disperse the seeds when they defecate or wipe their bills. (link added by Mary Ann Machi)


Suggested Citation
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals. [web application]. 2024. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: https://www.calflora.org/   (Accessed: 07/19/2024).