2015jan 1012

The Indian Mistletoe (Dendropthae falcata) grows widely as a hemiparasite on trees. like it’s European counterparts it is spread by birds that feed on it’s goey berries and then wipe their beaks on the barks of trees or pass out the undigested seeds in their shit.

2015jan 1009 The plants are partial parasites and besides gaining some nutrients from the bark also sucks the sap of the tree they are growing on, causing some damage to the host. Naturally, orchard farmers consider them as weeds, especially when they are growing on fruit trees like mango or jujube. One of the major jobs of orchard upkeep around here is the drastic lopping off of branches parasitised by the Dendropthoe , which is done every summer , when the trees shed their leaves.

2015jan 1008

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The Indian mistletoe has some medicinal uses according to the ancient Indian sysytem of medicine Ayurveda. Apart from that , they do not figure in a big way in Indian culture, ritual or folklore. (That is , as far as I know , as of today)

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They look pretty though, and bear clusters of flowers in spring. Some varieties have pink flowers, while the one I am seeing in Goa , have white blooms.

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DSCN4087 Many sunbirds , spidercatchers and other tiny nectar drinking birds relish thier nectar, and a variety of bees and insects are always to be seen hovering about the flowers, collecting pollen as well as nectar no doubt, and they would surely disagree that is strange plant is a ‘weed’.

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