To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Mistletoebird
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 17:28:04 +1000
Doug, Carol, Frank, et al,

Have really enjoyed this line so much that I just have to throw in my two
cent's worth.

Doug said, "Please don't be put off by people telling you that the
mistletoes will overtake and kill your plants, this is an "urban myth" why
would a long living, semi-parasite, kill
 it's host, if the host is living in a healthy environment, both the host
and mistletoe will survive happily."

Sometimes the environment might be healthy enough for a tree without
mistletoe but with an absence of herbivores both large and small they can
and do kill trees. This should not happen in your garden unless you abuse

Carol wrote, "However, our Loranthaceous mistletoes [are] more diverse and
(unlike Viscaceae) attractive to nectar-feeding birds, although both
families use birds as seed dispersal agents and are therefore potentially
attractive to Mistletoebirds.

As far as I know (and I would like correction) none of the Loranthaceae are
poisonous so are not used for witchcraft in this country. Except perhaps by
some new age ratbags who do not know what they are doing. Which lead nicely
on to the next point; what do they do in Tasmania at Christmas time?As Frank
tells us, " no species is listed for Tasmania for either family ."

I really like Syd's idea of, "having a mistletoe growing on a mistletoe
growing on a tree, but you could have the mistletoe Viscum articulatum
growing on the mistletoe Notothixos subaureus growing on the mistletoe
Amyena cogener growing on a Casuarina."

Have you noticed that the otherwise brilliant and thoroughly researched
author, Bryce Courtney, stuffs
up at least once per book on some natural history point. In 'Four Fires' it
was mistletoes. He referred to one as the herniparasite which could have
been a typo but the hero was a bushman and so would have known mistletoes
from his home. He did not come from Tasmania.

Excuse me as I am rushing out to observe my local mistletoes and see what I
can hemiparisitise them onto. I don't suppose a leafless mistletoe can be a

Regards and happy parisitising,

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