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Lodgepole-pine Dwarf Mistletoe Back to Plant Page
Arceuthobium americanum

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About Lodgepole-pine Dwarf Mistletoe (Arceuthobium americanum) Arceuthobium americanum is a species of dwarf mistletoe known as American dwarf mistletoe and lodgepole-pine dwarf mistletoe. It is a common plant of western North America where it lives in high elevation pine forests. It is a parasitic plant which lives upon the Lodgepole Pine, particularly the subspecies Pinus contortus ssp. murrayana, the Tamarack Pine. This pine subspecies is most common in the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada. The American dwarf mistletoe is a yellow-green coral-shaped structure above the surface of the tree's bark, while most of the parasite is beneath the bark. The seeds mature in late summer and disperse to nearby trees. This species has been found to explosively-disperse its seeds through thermogenesis. The parasitic plant is dioecious, meaning that it has separate male and female parts. Studies of pine needles from infected trees have shown decreased starch content in the needles of infected trees. Furthermore, differences have been found in the positioning of the vascular bundles between female infected pine trees and male infected pine trees.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Native Status

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
1210' - 8135'

Annual Precip. ?
16.2" - 109.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.86" - 3.79"

Coldest Month ?
26.9° F - 49.4° F

Hottest Month ?
52.0° F - 73.9° F

Humidity ?
0.91 vpd - 22.68 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
American Dwarf Mistletoe

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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