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  • Lake Chapala

Chapala Tree Service: What is Mistletoe?

Presented by Robert Delgado Chapala Tree Service Lake Chapala Garden Club, September 2013

What is Mistletoe?

It is a group of HEMI-PARASITIC plants in the family of Loranthaceae of which there are over 900 species. Needs a host plant to absorb water and minerals (nutrients). An evergreen that can produce up to 40% of its own food by photosynthesis.

Psittacanthus Calyculatus-Mistletoe

Common Mexican names..

  1. Muerdago

  2. Ingerto

  3. Mal Ojo

  4. Matapalo

The most important Mexican species found in Central Mexico to North of South America.

Characteristics-Flowers from July to November

Size 2 to 3 meter in dense clusters

An evergreen that grows from sea level to 2750 meters (9000 feet).

Prefers subtropical with full sun

Main propagation is from birds.

Ecological Benefits - Food for some birds and insects

The clusters can be used as refuge for small birds and animals.

It is classified as a toxic plant but has been found to have many medicinal properties.

Most common host trees include...

  1. Mesquite

  2. Guamuchil

  3. Poplar

  4. Modesto Ash

  5. Walnut

  6. Guava

  7. Citrus

  8. Ficus

Common ways to control the plant

There is no chemical that will kill just the Mistletoe without affecting the health of the host tree. Therefore it is necessary to remove the infected limbs of the tree.


Due to the fact that this Mexican Mistletoe will make our valuable trees and shrubs weaker, affect their growth and can propagate very easily, I strongly recommend a yearly program of pruning to control this plague.

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