Pygmy (leafless) mistletoes
Korthalsella is a genus of mistletoes with about 25 species in the family Viscaceae known as Korthal mistletoes (pygmy mistletoes in New Zealand). The genus has a scattered and discontinuous distribution with high levels of species richness in Malesia extending eastward to Hawaii, the Marquesas and Henderson Islands, Japan in the north, Australia and New Zealand in the south, and Ethiopia and Madagascar to the west (Molvray, 1999; Burrows 1996). Hawaii is another region with high levels of species diversity. Korthalsella clavata (left) in the Ahuriri Valley and Korthalsella lindsayi on Stevenson's Island. Photos by John Barkla.
New Zealand's species of Korthalsella are called pygmy mistletoes because of the diminutive nature of plants, as the size is mostly in the range of 5 cm and the flowers are also very reduced in size, male flowers being up to 0.7 mm across and female flowers are only 0.4 to 0.5 mm.
The New Zealand Botanic Region is home to three species of pygmy mistletoe:
For more information about pygmy (leafless) mistletoes see*:
- Barlow, B. A. 2008. Mistletoe dispersal: the special case of Korthalsella. Australian National Herbarium, Australian National Botanic Gardens.
- Barlow, B. A. 1983a. Biogeography of Loranthaceae and Viscaceae. Pages 19-46 in: The Biology of Mistletoes. M. Calder and P. Bernhardt, eds. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
- Barlow, B. A. 1983b. A Revision of the Viscaceae of Australia. Brunonia 6: 25-57.
- Barlow, B. A. 1997. Viscaceae. Flora Malesiana 13: 403-442.
- Danser, B. H. 1937. A revision of the genus Korthalsella. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique Buitenzorg 14: 115-159.
- Danser, B. H. 1940. A supplement to the revision of the genus Korthalsella. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique Buitenzorg: 329-342.
- Downey, P. O. 1998. An Inventory of Host Species for each Aerial Mistletoe Species (Loranthaceae and Viscaceae) in Australia. Cunninghamia 5:685-720.
- Molvray, M. 1997. A synopsis of Korthalsella (Viscaceae). Novon, Vol. 7, No. 3., pp. 268-273.
- Molvray, M., Kores, P. J. and Chase, M. W. 1999. Phylogenetic relationships within Korthalsella (Viscaceae) based on nuclear ITS and plastid trnL-F sequence data. Am. J. Bot. 86:249-260.
- Nickrent, D. L. 1997-onwards. The Parasitic Plant Connection.
- Stevenson, G. B. 1934. The Life History of the New Zealand Species of the Parasitic genus Korthalsella. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 64:175-191.
- Touw, M. (Now Molvray). 1984 Preliminary observations on Korthalsella (Viscaceae) with special reference to vascular patterns. Blumea 29: 525-545.
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This page last updated on 23 Sep 2012