PLANTS: Aerial shrubs parasitic on dicot or coniferous shrubs and trees, 2-15 dm high, woody, glabrous or hairy, dioecious in AZ (some tropical species monoecious). SHOOTS: usually some shade of green, but sometimes reddish. LEAVES: simple, entire, decussate, but reduced to minute scales in 2 species. INFLORESCENCE: axillary spikes with 1-7 fertile segments. FLOWERS: sunken along the axis; perianth segments usually 3, persistent in fruit; staminate flower with a sessile minute (less than 2 mm), 2-chambered anther; pistillate flower with a single style and rounded stigma. FRUIT: 3-6 mm in diameter, sessile, white, pink, or reddish; eaten and dispersed by birds. (Greek: phor = thief + dendron = tree). NOTES: ca. 200 spp. in the U.S., north temperate, tropical and subtropical distribution in the New World. Trelease, W. 1916. The Genus Phoradendron, Univ. Ill. Press; Wiens, D. 1964. Brittonia 16:11-54. REFERENCES: Hawksworth, Frank G. 1994. Viscaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. Volume 27(2), 241-245.
Monoecious or dioecious; perianth deeply 3-lobed, subglobose; anthers 3, sessile on the base of the perianth-lobes, opening transversely; ovary ovoid; fr a subglobose to ovoid, sessile berry; small shrubs, parasitic on trees, with well developed (in most spp.), opposite, coriaceous lvs and small fls in short, axillary spikes. 200, New World.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.