Notothixos cornifolius

Posted on Updated on

Notothixos cornifoliusFamily: Santalaceae
Genus: Notothixos
Common names: Kurrajong mistletoe
ALA reference

The large Argyrodendron trifoliolatum tree is host to about a dozen or so plants of Notothixos cornifolius. This mistletoe is a parasite and prefers as a host, trees from the Sterculiaceae family particularly A. trifoliolatum and Brachychiton populneus. The mistletoe draws its nutrients and water from the sap of the host tree. This plant is monoecious with the separate male and female flowers borne on the same inflorescence. The photo shows the pendulous inflorescence with female flowers and developing fruit towards the top of the inflorescence. The only male flowers I could find were towards the lower end of the inflorescence and I needed a microscope to identify them because they are only about 1mm across. This tree is occasionally visited by Mistletoe birds. They have a very loud high-pitched call and the colourful males have bright red feathers on their chests and under their tails. The birds feed on the mistletoe fruit and their special digestive tract allows the sticky seed to pass through rapidly; in as little as 25 minutes. If the seed is deposited on an appropriate host tree it may germinate there and start a new plant. (November 2008)