Mistletoe in Illinois

Find out more about the origins and habitats of the mistletoe plant.

| May 2018

Nightshades to Mistletoes (Southern Illinois University Press, 1990) by Robert H. Mohlenbrock, is a must read for those interested in illustrated flora of Illinois. Find out more about the dicotyledons or flowers that form two seed leaves. There are many flowers that belong in this group. Find out which ones are in the state of Illinois or possibly growing near you in other Midwestern states. This excerpt can be found the chapter, “Phoradendron.”

Common Name:  Mistletoe.

Habitat: Parasitic on trees or shrubs,  mostly in low woods.

Range:  New Jersey  to  Missouri,  south  to Texas and Florida; New Mexico.



Illinois Distribution: Occasionally in the southern one-sixth of the state, but extending along the Wabash River to Clark County.

Mistletoe is a remarkable plant in the Illinois flora. Al­though possessing chlorophyll in its leaves that enables it to manufacture food, it also obtains nutrients from the host species it parasitizes. The hosts in southern Illinois for the mis­tletoe include American elm and sweet gum. Excessive numbers of mistletoe plants on a single host may ultimately result in the death of the host.






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