Leafless Mistletoe
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Leafless Mistletoe
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Leafless Mistletoe, Jointed Mistletoe • Hindi: बुदू Budu, पुदू Pudu, Hurchu • Mizo: Lenpat • Marathi: बंदा Banda • Kannada: ಗಿಡಭಕ್ಷ Gidabhaksha • Bengali: Mandala • Oriya: Madanga • Gujarati: વંદો Vando • Sanskrit: Kamini • Santali: ᱜᱩᱞᱟ Gula
Botanical name: Viscum articulatum    Family: Santalaceae (Sandalwood family)
Synonyms: Viscum nepalense

Everyone has heard of Mistletoe but very few have actually seen this semi-parasitic shrub, because it grows upon the branches of trees. Leafless Mistletoe is a much branched, slender, smooth, pale, leafless parasite, forming a green undershrub. The branches are flat, with pendulous tufts, 15-90 cm long; the internodes being variable in length; usually a trifle wider at the distal end, and striate. The leaves are visible only in the very young internodes as small bracts below the flowers. The flowers are very minute, stalkless, and in stalkless, 3-flowered spikes. There are two or several spikes at a joint. The perianth of the male flowers is reflexed, and hardly ¼ mm long. The female flowers are about 1/2 mm long, with two bracts, and the perianth lobes erect and triangular. The fruit is stalkless, nearly spherical, about 3 mm in diameter, white and shining when ripe. In Europe the mistletoe is well known for the Christmas custom of kissing beneath its branches. It also features in the popular Asterix comic books, where mistletoe collected from oaks was considered to have special qualities. Flowering: December-January.
Medicinal uses: Leafless Mistletoe is used as a cure for fever. Paste is applied to cuts.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Maharashtra.

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