Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Arceuthobium pusillum Peck.
VISCACEAE (Mistletoe Family)
EtymologyArceuthobium means juniper-like, from the Greek: arkeuthos = juniper + bios = life; pusillum is Latin for very small or tiny.
Synonyms (Common Name)Eastern Dwarf Mistletoe
DescriptionDwarf mistletoe is a tiny, slightly woody plant only 1/2" tall that commonly parasitizes young branches of black spruce (Picea mariana) and ocassionally other conifers. Barely resembling a flowering plant, it looks like a brownish growth among the conifer needles, with a stem only 3/16 -- 5/8" long. Dwarf mistletoe also causes conspicuous "witches brooms" of dense branches on the infected host. The smooth stems are brownish or olive or purplish, can be simple or branched, and are brittle at the base.
Wetland indicator statusNone
Plant Heightless than 1 inch
LeavesOpposite, entire, tiny, scale-like; olive or brown.
Flower/InflorescenceMale and female flowers on same or separate trees. Tiny, borne in the leaf axils; resemble short lateral branches until they expand.
Flowering PeriodApril-June
FruitBerry, tiny (1/16 1 1/8"), brown, egg-shaped, flattened.
HabitatIn bogs, parasitic chiefly on branches of black spruce, sometimes on other conifers.
RangeNewfoundland and Quebec to Saskatechewan, south to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett