Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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V. N. Sanjai & N. P. Balakrishnan

Shrubs or herbs, perennial, chlorophyllous but parasitic on aerial parts of host plants, attachment by a single primary haustorium, pubescent or glabrous, monoecious or dioecious; stems usually forked, much branched, with swollen and articulated nodes; internodes terete, often angular or flattened, often green. Leaves present or absent, opposite, single, entire, sometimes reduced to scales; stipules absent. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, unit of inflorescence a cyme, either solitary or sometimes aggregated to form racemose or spicate compound inflorescences or condensed to dense clusters. Flowers minute, unisexual, monochlamydous; perianth sepaline, petaline or vestigial, lobes 2 - 4, valvate; stamens as many or less than the number of perianth lobes, adnate to their inner surface or free; anthers free or sometimes cohering into synandrium, basifixed, 1- to many-loculed, opening by pores or slits, pollen spherical; ovary inferior, unilocular, with a short placental column; ovules not distinct, sporogenous cells located at the base of the placental column; style short, sometimes conical; stigma simple, subsessile, capitate or nipple-shaped. Fruits fleshy, berry-like, one-seeded, covered by a sticky layer developing in a zone internal to vascular bundles, indehiscent or elastically or passively dehiscing.

Cosmopolitan, predominantly in tropical regions with a few species in the temperate areas, 7 genera and about 400 species; 4 genera and 19 species in India.

Literature. BARLOW, B. A. (1997). Viscaceae in Flora Malesiana Ser. I, 13: 403 – 442. LUSHINGTON, A. W. (1902). Identification of Loranthaceae by their leaves. Indian Forester 28: 58 – 68. SANJAI, V. N. & N. P. BALAKRISHNAN (2001). A note on the cryptic mimicry exhibited by Indian Viscaceae. Indian J. Forest. 24: 233 - 234. SANJAI, V. N. & N. P. BALAKRISHNAN (2001). A note on hyper-parasitism in Indian Viscaceae. Indian J. Forest. 24: 235 - 236. SANJAI, V. N. & N. P. BALAKRISHNAN 2006 (2007). A revision of Indian Viscaceae. Rheedea 16(2): 73 – 109


1a. Internodes flattened in one plane, leafless, up to 20 cm long; inflorescence pubescent; anthers united into a single unit 3. Korthalsella
b. Internodes flattened in different planes, terete or angular, leafy or leafless, size varies; inflorescence glabrous; anthers not united into a single unit 2
2a. Mature plants always less than 8 cm long, leafless, and dioecious 1. Arceuthobium
b. Mature plants always more than 8 cm long, leafy or leafless, monoecious or dioecious 3
3a. Inflorescence a spike of 3-flowered cymes; anthers with free filaments, opening by slits 2. Ginalloa
b. Inflorescence cymose or subracemose, 3- to 5-flowered; anthers sessile, attached to the perianth lobes, opening by pores 4. Viscum

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