The first species to be called Mistletoe

Mistletoe is best known as a holiday decoration, but did you know that it has other uses in medicine as well.  In addition it is one of the few plants that are parasitic.  This page is about the type of mistletoe found commonly throughout Europe, not the one that's used in most American decorations.

Viscum album is a type of parasitic shrub found that grows on the branches of other trees.  Seeds are deposited on the branches, usually by birds, and the roots grow into the tree.

The stems are green with smooth-edged, oval evergreen leaves.  White or yellowish berries grow in dense clusters of 2 to 6.

Stems of 	Viscum album

Both the stems and the leaves contain viscotoxins that cause acute gastrointestinal problems when ingested, along with diarrhea and a slowed pulse.  However these toxins have been used for medicinal purposes.











Domain - EukaryaPhylogenetic tree - Cells possess complex organelles, including nuclei.

Kingdom - Plantae - Multicellular, photoautotrophic, cellulose cell walls

Phylum - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plant

Class - Magnoliopsida - Dicot

Order - Santalales - Hemi-parasitic

Family - Santalaceae - Sub-group of Santalales

Genus - Viscum - Branches 15-80 cm in length, greenish-yellow flowers 1-3 cm in diameter, berries, seeds distributed by birds.

Species - V. album - White or yellow berries containing a single seed each.













                                 Phylogenetic Tree of the Order Santales