FAMILY OF THE WEEK: LORANTHACEAE -- MISTLETOE FAMILY
1300 species are observed throughout the world mostly distributed
in tropical and temperate regions.In India the family is represented by
11 genera and50 species mostly in western ghats and tropical and
subtropical Himalayas.The familiar examples are Mistletoe(Viscum
) and Banda (Dendropthe falcata
plants are mostly semiparasitic shrubs which derive a considerable part
of nourishment from the host tree. They are attached to the host with
the help of modified adventitious roots(haustoria) which penetrate the
bark and sapwood of the host. They attack a wide range of trees.
is sympodial and often dichotomous. In Viscum
terminal bud ends in an inflorescence whereas the lateral buds continue
to grow in next season.The branches are often swollen at nodes.
are usually opposite,persistent,often thick and fleshy,simple and exstipulate.Inflorescence and flowers:
are mostly in axillary spikes, racemes or cymes.
The flowers are often showy bisexual or unisexual, actinomorphic or with a tendancy to zygomorphy(Dendropthe
) and epigynous.They are usually bracteate and often with a pair of bracteoles.
often biseriate with two similar di or trimerous whorls. The tepals are
free or united into a tube which often splits down to one side.
many.The anthers are dithecous. A pistillode is often present in the
staminate flowers and a staminode in female flowers.The gynoecium
is bi or tri carpellary and syncarpous
is a berry or drupe.
is by insects or small birds.
fruit is covered by the fleshy outer receptacle which has an outer
viscid layer.This adhers to the beak of the birds. When the bird rubs
the beak to get rid of the seeds they adhere to the branches of the
new host where they germinate and soon develop haustoria which
penetrates the tissues.Examples
:Dendropthe falcataViscum album