Ever seen anything like this?!

catfishrod69

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I seen these last year here in North Carolina. I didn't get pictures then. But im back down here on vacation now. Figured I would get some pics and share. Its pretty crazy to me to see a succulent growing right out of a silver maple tree. I don't believe there is any way to graft these onto a tree, and even if they were somehow able to, look at how they are growing straight out of the branches. There are two groups of these succulents growing out of this same tree in two different spots. Pretty crazy!








---------- Post added 05-20-2013 at 12:55 PM ----------

This is the other section of succulents.



 

Galapoheros

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Yeah, what AzJohn said, have it in the trees here as well, parasitic, esp. on Elm trees here.
 

The Snark

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Now here's your neat trick for the day. Make a map of the trees infested with that grunge parasite. Print up some spiffy cutesy colorful labels. Obtain some 6 by 8 inch clear celophane bags. Come December grab your ladder and pruning gear and harvest the stuff trying to get as many branches that have the 'berries' on them as possible. Cram the stuff into the bags, staple them shut with the cutesy label, sell them to just about any store that has check out lines where the bags can be displayed for $1.00 each. Stuff your pockets with the $$$ while patting yourself on the back for removing some of the parasites from the environment.
 

catfishrod69

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Thats pretty crazy! I had no idea. I just figured somehow it had attached itself to the tree. Does it kill the tree? Or just feed off of it, using it as a root system?
 

The Snark

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Mistletoe. Mistle: dung; toe: from tan, stick or twig. Literally, poop on a stick. The common way the plant propagates being the seeds eaten by a bird which defecates on other shrubs or trees.
As a true parasite it is quite capable of killing it's host. However, the American variety is edible and provides a food source for several foraging herbivores. The European variety is toxic with a chemical compound similar to Ricin.
 

catfishrod69

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Well learn something new every day. I always thought mistletoe had regular leaves, and wasnt a succulent.
 

The Snark

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Well learn something new every day. I always thought mistletoe had regular leaves, and wasnt a succulent.
If you think about it, that is the only way the plant could be successful. Relying soley on the sap flowing in the host it would have to store nutrients during the winter cycle. The same as succulents and cacti storing nutrients for the long dry spells. As it is, in California, growing on the scrub oak the mistletoe starts to whither in about 1 to 3 weeks after the branch it is hosted on has been cut from the tree.
 

josh_r

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Mistletoe. Mistle: dung; toe: from tan, stick or twig. Literally, poop on a stick. The common way the plant propagates being the seeds eaten by a bird which defecates on other shrubs or trees.
As a true parasite it is quite capable of killing it's host. However, the American variety is edible and provides a food source for several foraging herbivores. The European variety is toxic with a chemical compound similar to Ricin.
Mistletoe rarely kills it´s host unless the host tree becomes so overwhelmed with the mistletoe that it cannot outcompete the mistletoe for nutrients. It is uncommon, but does happen. As far as the "american" variety being edible.... Which variety do you speak of? There are many species in America. Some are toxic, some aren´t. Therefore, when you make the statement that they are edible... You should make a reference as to which species are edible. Someone here may actually try to eat them after reading such a post.
 

The Snark

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Mistletoe rarely kills it´s host unless the host tree becomes so overwhelmed with the mistletoe that it cannot outcompete the mistletoe for nutrients. It is uncommon, but does happen. As far as the "american" variety being edible.... Which variety do you speak of? There are many species in America. Some are toxic, some aren´t. Therefore, when you make the statement that they are edible... You should make a reference as to which species are edible. Someone here may actually try to eat them after reading such a post.
You have two very good points.
First, the process of the parasite killing the host is a complex one that quite a few scientific papers have been written about. Kill the host, kill yourself. But the process, as with many parasites, is often very slow. With Mistletoe the initial infection process from birds is far faster in spreading the parasite than the parasites innate ability to spread on the host. With some victim hosts the degeneration and die off is quite rapid but with certain plants like the scrub oak (Quercus, which has been studied extensively), the oak is very hardy and can live for many years with a heavy infestation. As I said, it is quite capable of killing the host but natural adaptation and selection has taken a hand to keep both alive for as long as possible.
As for which variety is edible I'll give you the Doc's answer at the L.A. County arboretum: 'For humans, none. Leave that to the foraging animals to decide as telling which is which is almost impossible without a chemical analysis. The deer can smell the difference, we can't.'
(As a footnote, I recall that conundrum well. The arboretums were studying native California plants in order to protect them. Several armloads of mistletoe had been dumped on a counter in the lab. We were assured there were four different varieties but unlike 'normal' plants, deciduous trees, native shrubs etc, the mistletoe, adapted to the harsh environments in Calif. were identical. I remember they didn't make much headway with mistletoe control but that particular study did unearth the reason why the native oak trees, specifically the Pasadena Oak, were dying out. In the efforts to save the oaks they had been watering them which, as it turned out, only exascerbated the problem: aiding the true culprit, the honey fungus, to propagate much more rapidly)
 
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josh_r

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You have two very good points.
First, the process of the parasite killing the host is a complex one that quite a few scientific papers have been written about. Kill the host, kill yourself. But the process, as with many parasites, is often very slow. With Mistletoe the initial infection process from birds is far faster in spreading the parasite than the parasites innate ability to spread on the host. With some victim hosts the degeneration and die off is quite rapid but with certain plants like the scrub oak (Quercus, which has been studied extensively), the oak is very hardy and can live for many years with a heavy infestation. As I said, it is quite capable of killing the host but natural adaptation and selection has taken a hand to keep both alive for as long as possible.
As for which variety is edible I'll give you the Doc's answer at the L.A. County arboretum: 'For humans, none. Leave that to the foraging animals to decide as telling which is which is almost impossible without a chemical analysis. The deer can smell the difference, we can't.'
(As a footnote, I recall that conundrum well. The arboretums were studying native California plants in order to protect them. Several armloads of mistletoe had been dumped on a counter in the lab. We were assured there were four different varieties but unlike 'normal' plants, deciduous trees, native shrubs etc, the mistletoe, adapted to the harsh environments in Calif. were identical. I remember they didn't make much headway with mistletoe control but that particular study did unearth the reason why the native oak trees, specifically the Pasadena Oak, were dying out. In the efforts to save the oaks they had been watering them which, as it turned out, only exascerbated the problem: aiding the true culprit, the honey fungus, to propagate much more rapidly)
OOOH YEAH!!! Such a good and educated reply! I was hoping you weren´t going to blame the mistletoe for the demise of the oak and would bring up the fungus! thank you for that Snark :)
 
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