Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Viscum album L., Sp. Pl. 2: 1023. 1753; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 223. 1886. V. costatum Gamble in Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1913: 46. 1913. V. album var. meridianum Danser in Blumea 4: 274. 1941.


Dioecious semi-parasitic yellow-green shrubs, up to 75 cm high; stems di- or trichotomously or umbellately branched; nodes swollen; internodes terete. Leaves normal, opposite, sessile or subsessile, lanceolate-elliptic to obovate-lanceolate or sometimes obovatecuneate, usually oblique, obtuse or rotund at apex, entire, abruptly narrowed towards the base, 2.5 - 10 x 0.5 - 3.7 cm, thinly coriaceous, with 3 - 9 longitudinal nerves connected together by indistinct reticulate veins. Inflorescences cymose, terminal or axillary, peduncled. Male flowers: 3 together, the central being the older, the laterals younger, all in a connate cup of two acute bracts which are triangular; flowers globose, ca 2.5 x 2.5 mm; perianth lobes 4; stamens 4; anthers sessile, attached to the inner surface of perianth lobes. Female flowers: 3 - 5 together, protected by a pair of connate acute bracts forming a cupule; flowers oblong, ca 2 x 1 mm; perianth lobes 4, perianth-tube fused with the inferior ovary; style short; stigma flat. Fruits globose or ellipsoid, 4 - 8 mm long; seeds 5 - 6 mm long, embedded in a white viscid pulp.

Fl. & Fr. Feb. - Oct.

Distrib. India: High altitudes of the Himalayas, particularly in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand (Garhwal Himalayas), Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Europe, Bhutan, Myanmar, China and Vietnam.

Uses. There is a belief that the plants called ‘European mistletoe’ possess some magical properties. It is medicinally important and the crude drugs prepared from this plant have potential to cure tumour.

Pollen. Rounded convex, almost spherical, prolate, spheroidal, tricolporate. 38.1 - 35 μm (Feur, S. M. & J. Kujit, Amer. J. Bot. 69: 1 - 12. 1982).

Chromosome no. From Europe: n = 10 (Pisek, Jahrb. Ber. Dutsch. Bot. Ges. 40: 406 - 409. 1923).

Hosts. Various species of Abies and Ulmus.




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