The effect of mistletoe (Viscum album) on branch wood and needle anatomy of Scots pine (Punts sylvestris)


IAWA JOURNAL, vol.40, no.2, pp.352-365, 2019 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1163/22941932-40190219
  • Title of Journal : IAWA JOURNAL
  • Page Numbers: pp.352-365
  • Keywords: Parasitic plants, mistletoe, ecological wood anatomy, needle anatomy, Santalaceae, Viscoideae, Santalales, Pinaceae, WATER-STRESS, XYLEM, DROUGHT, ARCEUTHOBIUM, GROWTH, ECOPHYSIOLOGY, FORESTS, CARBON, PLANTS, HOSTS


Mistletoes are hemi-parasitic plants growing on many tree species. They grow on the tree branches or trunk of a tree and form root-like structures called haustoria that penetrate into the tree, taking up water and mineral nutrients. Mistletoe is capable of causing a variety of effects to its hosts, including changes in wood formation and leaf development. We investigate and discuss the effects of pine mistletoe (Viscum album ssp. austriacum, Santalaceae) on branch wood and needle anatomy of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris, Pinaccae). Parasitized and non-parasitized branches of Scots pine were sampled from host tree crowns of trees growing on the same site. Branches were taken from mid-crown facing south. They were cut at 2 cm proximal and 2 cm distal to the mistletoe on each host branch and at the corresponding position in the case of uninfected branches from the same host. The wood anatomy at proximal and distal parts and the parts at the corresponding position in the non-parasitized section was compared. The anatomy of one-year-old needles from both parasitized and non-parasitized branches was also compared. Mistletoe had significant influences on wood and needle anatomy. The major changes were the decreases in the double wall thickness, lumen area, tangential lumen area and radial lumen area of the tracheids in the wood and a decrease in vascular area in the needles. These results help to understand how mistletoe acts on its host.