Mistletoes 5: Germination of Macrosolen cochinchinensis

posted in: Plants | 4

A Macrosolen cochinchinensis seed, when deposited on to the branch of a host plant by a bird, germinates by growing a green stalk with a disc-like tip. This stalk elongates, arching back to send its disc-like tip fusing into the stem of the host plant to become the haustorium. When the haustorium is firmly attached, the seed is lifted off, the seed coat shrivels and drops off to reveal the first pair of leaves, the cotyledons! The shoot then elongates, giving rise to further pairs of leaves.


Note: This plant is a tropical mistletoe, a semi-parasite that grows on the branches of many wayside trees and ornamental plants. Please see our earlier postings on the plants, seeds and germination and accounts by a naturalist and a sometime bird watcher.

Text and images by Angie Ng

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4 Responses

  1. Ayoh! Very nice series of Macrosolen seed germination. Will we get an article in NW soon, Angie? Bagus, KF

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  2. […] mature trees and shrubs. He goes out of his way to encourage tropical mistletoes [1, 2, 3, 4 & 5] to grow on his plants, as these semi-parasitic plants attract sunbirds, flowerpeckes and more. So […]

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  3. […] their exhaust into the atmosphere gives me a sense of the gasses being pumped out of the car. …Bird Ecology Study Group Mistletoes 5: Germination of …A Macrosolen cochinchinensis seed, when deposited on to the branch of a host plant by a … When the […]

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  4. […] giving out a root that grows into the bark of the branch, to enter the living tissue beneath LINK. There the root taps the host’s water supply. At the same time the mistletoe seedling develops a […]

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