Re: interesting question

Subject: Re: interesting question
From: "Peregrine" <>
Date: Tue, 6 May 1997 21:03:47 -0400 (EDT)
> are specific mistletoe species only found on certain trees?  I always

> thought they were dispersed by birds, so how would the mistletoe
> that its seeds were deposited on the correct species of tree?
> interesting question indeed!

>So - you are suggesting that mistletoe seed dispersing birds "randomly"
>visit different species of tree??? I don't think so!
>Keith M. Martin                          Tel  +32 16 32 18 62
>Katholieke Universiteit Leuven     Fax +32 16 32 19 86
>Dept. Elektrotechniek-ESAT
>Kardinaal Mercierlaan 94              
>B-3001 Heverlee

I'm not very familiar with parasitic plants, the only one I've ever had 
any experience with is orange dodder (not sure of the species name or if 
it occurs in Australia)
I don't think misteltoe eating birds randomly visit trees, obviously they 
visit trees that have mistletoe growing on them. But supposing a bird was 
feeding on different species of mistletoe, some of which were host 
specific and some of which weren't. Eventually seeds from a host specific 
species would be deposited on the wrong kind of host tree. Why wouldn't 
that seed be able to germinate there since it is on the wrong kind of 
tree? is it a biochemical incompatibility or a physical one? 
also as another item of curiostity, do mistletoe seeds require processing 
in a bird's gut to germinate, or can they simply fall from  their branch 
onto another branch of the same tree and grow there?  

good birding,
Katie Bertsche
(who had a nasty run in with leeches yesterday)

Katie Bertsche .........If you're too busy to go birding, you're too busy.
Sydney, NSW Australia

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