Showing posts tagged: macro

Mistletoe Berries
I’m still not sure how these things get started up in the middle of trees!
(Desolation Wilderness, California - 8/2014)
And the answer is…birds! Thanks semianonymity!
Mistletoe is spread by birds!
Mistletoe berries are a pretty attractive food source for birds—for some, like the Phainopepla, it can be the primary food source. The seeds within the berries are sticky—depending on the bird eating the food, and the species of mistletoe, the berries can either
The berries are eaten whole and pass through the digestive system, most of the feces landing on branches where the seeds stick, germinate, and invade the tree—some species do this so quickly that the mistletoe seeds pass through literally within 4 or 5 minutes—see Cedar Waxwings, which in addition to being gorgeous birds are really effective dispersers of mistletoe
The berries are eaten, stored in the bird’s crop (an extension of the esophagus used to hold food after it’s eaten) and then the fruit portion is moved on for digestion, while the seeds are regurgitated
The berries are eaten but not swallowed whole, so the seeds stick to the bird’s beak and get wiped off onto a branch, where they stick, germinate, and begin to attack the tree
Once a seed is stuck to a branch, it develops a special type of root-like thing that grows into the host plant, using photosynthesis from the mistletoe’s leaves until it’s able to parasitize the tree, at which point the plant becomes almost completely parasitic (with some exceptions—different types of mistletoe have different degrees of parasitism.) 

Mistletoe Berries

I’m still not sure how these things get started up in the middle of trees!

(Desolation Wilderness, California - 8/2014)

And the answer is…birds! Thanks semianonymity!

Mistletoe is spread by birds!

Mistletoe berries are a pretty attractive food source for birds—for some, like the Phainopepla, it can be the primary food source. The seeds within the berries are sticky—depending on the bird eating the food, and the species of mistletoe, the berries can either

  1. The berries are eaten whole and pass through the digestive system, most of the feces landing on branches where the seeds stick, germinate, and invade the tree—some species do this so quickly that the mistletoe seeds pass through literally within 4 or 5 minutes—see Cedar Waxwings, which in addition to being gorgeous birds are really effective dispersers of mistletoe
  2. The berries are eaten, stored in the bird’s crop (an extension of the esophagus used to hold food after it’s eaten) and then the fruit portion is moved on for digestion, while the seeds are regurgitated
  3. The berries are eaten but not swallowed whole, so the seeds stick to the bird’s beak and get wiped off onto a branch, where they stick, germinate, and begin to attack the tree

Once a seed is stuck to a branch, it develops a special type of root-like thing that grows into the host plant, using photosynthesis from the mistletoe’s leaves until it’s able to parasitize the tree, at which point the plant becomes almost completely parasitic (with some exceptions—different types of mistletoe have different degrees of parasitism.) 

  • Ridiculously Weird Michigan Forest Flower
(Ontonagon, MIchigan -  8/2014)

Update from bethjpalik!  “Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, a perenniel. Also called Prince’s pine. Has medicinal uses for above ground parts as anti-inflammatory and thought to antibacterial properties. 
Guessing you found on sandy pine site? Indicator plant for drier sites. One of my fave dry site plants! Beautiful macro shot!”
  • Ridiculously Weird Michigan Forest Flower
(Ontonagon, MIchigan -  8/2014)

Update from bethjpalik!  “Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, a perenniel. Also called Prince’s pine. Has medicinal uses for above ground parts as anti-inflammatory and thought to antibacterial properties. 
Guessing you found on sandy pine site? Indicator plant for drier sites. One of my fave dry site plants! Beautiful macro shot!”
  • Ridiculously Weird Michigan Forest Flower
(Ontonagon, MIchigan -  8/2014)

Update from bethjpalik!  “Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, a perenniel. Also called Prince’s pine. Has medicinal uses for above ground parts as anti-inflammatory and thought to antibacterial properties. 
Guessing you found on sandy pine site? Indicator plant for drier sites. One of my fave dry site plants! Beautiful macro shot!”

Ridiculously Weird Michigan Forest Flower

(Ontonagon, MIchigan -  8/2014)

Update from bethjpalik! “Pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata, a perenniel. Also called Prince’s pine. Has medicinal uses for above ground parts as anti-inflammatory and thought to antibacterial properties. Guessing you found on sandy pine site? Indicator plant for drier sites. One of my fave dry site plants! Beautiful macro shot!”

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