General: The mistletoes (Arceuthobium spp. and Phoradendron spp.) are parasitic plants that live by taking water and nutrients from other species of plants. There are nine species of mistletoe in Nevada (perhaps eight in southern Nevada), and most specialize on a particular species or a group of related species (see table below).
The plants produce juicy berries that are eaten by birds, especially Phainopepla and Cedar Waxwings. However, some species are toxic to humans.
In the genus Phoradendron, the seeds spread by birds (especially Phainopepla) who eat the berries and later "deposit" the seeds on other plants. Sometimes the seeds stick to the bill of the bird, who then wipes it off on some other branch where it sticks and starts to grow. In the genus Arceuthobium, the sticky seeds are ejected from the berry and land on other branches or other plants.
Family: Santalaceae [formerly Viscaceae].