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Western Dwarf Mistletoe

Scientific Name:

Arceuthobium campylopodum


Parasitic Plant


Primarily ponderosa and Jeffrey pines along with other pines in the western North American mountains


Western North America


No listed status

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Western dwarf mistletoes are plants that parasitize several species of pine including ponderosa pines, Jeffrey pines, and Coulter pines. It occurs in low to mid elevations in conifer forests. Most of the plant's structure lies beneath the bark, while the exposed structure produces the seeds. The seeds are matured and dispersed in the fall. The shoots of western dwarf mistletoes are olive-green to brown in color.

Fast Facts:

  • The presence of western dwarf mistletoes can be observed through the existence of "witches' brooms" in the plants' host trees. Witches' brooms are dense clusters of small twigs growing out of the branch of a tree. Witches' brooms can be caused by parasitic plants or disease.

  • Western dwarf mistletoes flower between August and October and disperse their seeds between September and November.

  • The seeds of western dwarf mistletoes can travel over 40 feet from the parent plant. Only a small fraction of the seeds end up surviving, however; most seeds are destroyed by fungi or insects, or are washed away by rain.



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Last Updated:

June 15, 2021 at 10:51:11 PM

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