Scar on a tree branch from Mistletoe. The sticky seeds of Mistletoe, left by birds, germinate on branches of trees. The seedlings send out holdfast roots in to the bark of the host tree, establishing a partial parasitic relationship (obtains some nourishment from its host but also photosynthesizes). Malformations of the branch of the host tree may result in ribbed or flower like scars.
© The Field Museum, B79890.
Piece of a tree branch with scarring from a Mistletoe plant growing on it.
Sometimes I feel like the Field Museum archivists are trolling us by posting all these amazing botanical, archival photographs. It’s like they know we’re watching them! If it’s true, it would be the most welcome trolling I’ve ever been on the receiving end of!
Oh, and this photograph is pretty great. Mistletoe has a bad rap though. Since mistletoe can lead to the death of its host organism, it has long been stigmatized as a bad plant to have around. But a recent study has actually indicated that mistletoe is in fact a “keystone” species, meaning that it is vital to the existence of many creatures within its habitat. ~AR