Mistletoe - Get the Facts on Herbal Supplements

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  • Mistletoe is a plant that grows on several types of trees and has been used since ancient times to treat many ailments (see Question 1 Question 1 and Question 2 Question 2 ).<a href="#hdng0">(More...)</a>

  • Possible side effects of mistletoe use.<a href="#hdng1">(More...)</a>

<a name="hdng0"></a>Mistletoe is a plant that grows on several types of trees and has been used since ancient times to treat many ailments (see Question 1 Question 1 and Question 2 Question 2 ). <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank" [1]</a> Very few bad side effects have been reported from the use of mistletoe extract, though mistletoe plants and berries are poisonous to humans (see Question 7 Question 7 ).<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank" [1]</a> Mistletoe extract has been shown to kill cancer cells in the laboratory and to boost the immune system (see Question 3 Question 3 ).<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank" [1]</a> Many human studies using mistletoe to treat cancer have been done in Europe with unclear results, and a few clinical trials in the United States and abroad are in progress (see Question 6 Question 6 ).<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank" [1]</a> The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved mistletoe as a treatment for cancer or any other medical condition (see Question 8 Question 8 Question 8 ).<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank" [1]</a> Animal studies have suggested that mistletoe may be useful in decreasing the side effects of standard anticancer therapy (see Question 5 Question 5 ).<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank" [1]</a>

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<a name="hdng1"></a>Possible side effects of mistletoe use. This summary is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians and other health professionals who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions. <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe/healthprofessional" TARGET="_blank" [2]</a> This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the use of mistletoe as a treatment for cancer.<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe/healthprofessional" TARGET="_blank" [2]</a>

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  • The Johnson's hairstreak, restricted to just the Pacific states, is usually found in association with old-growth conifer forests, the same places spotted owls prefer.<a href="#hdng2">(More...)</a>

  • The leafy shoots and berries of mistletoe are used to make extracts that can be taken by mouth.<a href="#hdng3">(More...)</a>

  • Mistletoe infections on branches within six inches of the tree trunk have likely spread into the main tree stem; if the main stem is less than five inches in diameter where the infected branch attaches, the entire tree should be removed.<a href="#hdng4">(More...)</a>

<a name="hdng2"></a>The Johnson's hairstreak, restricted to just the Pacific states, is usually found in association with old-growth conifer forests, the same places spotted owls prefer. The caterpillars of these butterflies closely mimic the appearance of the mistletoe with their mottled green and olive shades. Like people, the butterflies of these species use mistletoe for courtship rituals. After courting and mating in the mistletoe high in the canopy, the adults leave their eggs behind in the mistletoe. <a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Some fossil pollen grains even indicate that the plant has been here for millions of years. Says Bennetts: "Mistletoes should be viewed as a natural component of healthy forest ecosystems, of which they have been a part for thousands, if not millions of years." The thing that all mistletoes have in common is this: all grow as parasites on the branches of trees and shrubs.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Says Bennetts: "I had the privilege of working with a biologist who had spent more than 50 years working on mistletoes. He began his work with the intent of finding a way to control this 'forest pest,' but in his later years, he even introduced dwarf mistletoe to some of the trees in his yard because he had grown to love this plant for what it is. a fascinating and natural part of forest ecosystem."<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> American mistletoe is found from New Jersey to Florida and west through Texas. The dwarf mistletoe, much smaller than its kissing cousin, is found from central Canada and southeastern Alaska to Honduras and Hispaniola, but most species are found in western United States and Mexico. Mistletoe is no newcomer to this country: excavations of packrat middens reveal that dwarf mistletoes have been part of our forests for more than 20,000 years.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> For the most part, the mistletoe is pretty darn cavalier about what host tree it finds - dwarf mistletoes like most kinds of conifers; American mistletoes are found on an incredible variety of trees.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a>

Wrote Muir: "I found most of the robins cowering on the lee side of the larger branches of the trees, where the snow could not fall on them, while two or three of the more venturesome were making desperate efforts to get at the mistletoe berries by clinging to the underside of the snow-covered masses, back downward, something like woodpeckers."<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Since the lifespan of mistletoe-laden trees is considerably shorter than trees where the plant is absent, a higher number of tree snags occupy mistletoe-laden woods. Not surprisingly, this means that more - one study documented at least three times as many -- cavity-nesting birds live in forests with abundant mistletoes.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Even though bird droppings cannot spontaneously generate mistletoe plants, birds are an important part of mistletoe life history - and vice versa.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Wind and insects are important mistletoe pollinators. Although hundreds of kinds of insects carry mistletoe pollen, only a few dozen are important pollinators; these include a variety of flies, ants, and beetles. Other insects eat the shoots, fruits, and seeds of the mistletoe, including some that feed exclusively on the plant.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Mistletoe is also important nectar and pollen plant for honeybees and other native bees, says Erik Erikson, a bee researcher at the USDA Bee Research Lab.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Not everyone likes mistletoe. Many commercial foresters consider the dwarf mistletoe as a disease that reduces the growth rates of commercially important conifer species, such as the ponderosa pine. Ecologists, though, point out that mistletoes are not a disease; instead, they are a native group of plants that have been around thousands, or even millions, of years.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Blessing or bane, it is certain that mistletoe is not spreading like wildfire -- in fact, mistletoe spreads only about 2 feet per year.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover, and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters in the United States and elsewhere.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Mistletoes grow into thick masses of branching, misshapen stems, giving rise to a popular name of witches' brooms, or the apt Navajo name of "basket on high." The plant's common name - mistletoe - is derived from early observations that mistletoe would often appear in places where birds had left their droppings.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Birds also find mistletoe a great place for nesting, especially the dense witches' brooms.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> A USGS researcher found that 64 percent of all Cooper's hawk nests in northeastern Oregon were in mistletoe. Other raptors that use witches' brooms as nesting sites include great gray owls, long-eared owls, goshawks, and sharp-shinned hawks.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a>

The white-berried Christmas mistletoe we hang so hopefully in places where our sweethearts will find us lingering, is just one of more than 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Naturalist and writer John Muir noted American robins eating mistletoe in the mountains of California in the late 1890's.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Bennetts believes that the conflict with forest management and the perspective of mistletoes being a forest disease really only comes into play when the management objectives are to maximize timber harvest. Otherwise, he says, mistletoes have many positive attributes, including tremendous benefits for native wildlife. He says, when not in conflict with commercial timber management objectives, mistletoes should be viewed as a natural component of healthy forest ecosystems.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Says Rob Bennetts, a USGS research scientist, some animals couldn't even survive without mistletoe, including some birds, butterflies, and insects.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> The phainopeplas, a silky flycatcher, are beautiful birds that live in the desert areas of the Southwest and West and are especially dependent on mistletoe.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a>

One study indicated that a 1.5-acre patch of mistletoe took about 60 to 70 years to form.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Mistletoe flowers, says Erikson, often provides the first pollen available in the spring for the hungry bees.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Don't try it at home, kids and grown-ups - mistletoe is toxic to people, but the berries and leaves of mistletoe provide high-protein fodder for many mammals, especially in autumn and winter when other foods are scarce. Researchers have documented that animals such as elk, cattle and deer eat mistletoe during winter when fresh foliage is rare.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> In Texas, some ranchers even consider mistletoe on mesquite as an insurance forage crop, which the ranchers remove from the trees for cattle food when other forage is scarce. Other mammals that eat mistletoe include squirrels, chipmunks, and even porcupines, some of which are deliriously fond of the plant.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a>

The death of an individual tree from dwarf mistletoe may take several decades, and widespread infestation of a forest stand may take centuries.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> In Bennetts' and other studies, a high abundance of dwarf mistletoe in a forest means that more kinds and numbers of birds inhabit that forest.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> The American mistletoe's scientific name, Phoradendron, means "thief of the tree" in Greek. The plant is aptly named: it begins its life as a handily sticky seed that often hitchhikes to a new host tree on a bird beak or feather or on mammal fur. In addition to hitchhiking, the dwarf mistletoe also has another dandy way of traveling to a new host tree: the seeds of this mistletoe will, like tiny holiday poppers, explode from ripe berries, shooting a distance as far as 50 feet.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Exclusive mistletoe-eaters include a twig beetle, several thrip species, and a plant bug whose coloration mimics dwarf mistletoe fruits. At least four mite species seem to be exclusively associated with dwarf mistletoe.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> Two kinds of mistletoes are native to the United States: the American mistletoe (the one commonly associated with our kissing customs) and the dwarf mistletoe.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a> The great purple hairstreak, says Opler, is the only butterfly in the United States that feeds on American mistletoe, the Christmas mistletoe. This beautiful butterfly lays its eggs on the mistletoe, where the resulting caterpillars thrive one a mistletoe diet.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a>

The phainopepla is just one of many birds that eat mistletoe berries; others include grouse, mourning doves, bluebirds, evening grosbeaks, robins, and pigeons.<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [3]</a>

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<a name="hdng3"></a>The leafy shoots and berries of mistletoe are used to make extracts that can be taken by mouth. <a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> The use of mistletoe to treat cancer has been studied in Europe in more than 30 clinical trials. Although improvements in survival or quality of life have been reported, almost all of the trials had major weaknesses in their design that raise doubts about the findings.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> NCCAM is sponsoring a clinical trial of mistletoe, given in combination with the drug gemcitabine, for cancer. The study will look at toxicity, safety, and immune system effects of mistletoe extract when combined with this chemotherapy drug.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> In Europe, mistletoe extracts are prescription drugs that are given by injection.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> Injected mistletoe extract may cause itching or redness in the area of the injection.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a>

Laboratory studies have found that mistletoe kills cancer cells and stimulates the immune system.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> In the United States, mistletoe by injection is available only in clinical trials.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> Mistletoe has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat seizures, headaches, and other conditions.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> European mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows on several types of trees in temperate regions worldwide. Where the term "mistletoe" is used in this fact sheet, it refers to European mistletoe. (European mistletoe is different from American mistletoe, which is used as a holiday decoration.)<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a> American mistletoe is unsafe for medicinal use. In countries where commercial mistletoe is available by injection, such as Germany, those extracts are considered to be generally safe when used according to product directions and under the supervision of a health care provider.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a>

Eating raw, unprocessed European mistletoe or American mistletoe can cause vomiting, seizures, a slowing of the heart rate, and even death.<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank" [4]</a>

European mistletoe: A hemiparasite of broad-leaved trees and shrubs that resembles leafy species of American mistletoe.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> European mistletoe: Grows mostly on deciduous ornamental and orchard trees in California, but can infect numerous species of broad-leaved trees and conifers in temperate to tropical regions.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Prevention and Control: Although currently not a serious problem in California, European mistletoe has the potential to become a widespread pest. It is currently thought that its spread may be limited due to a lack of susceptible host trees surrounding its current distribution.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Spread of European mistletoe (Viscum album) in California, U.S. European Journal of Forest Pathology 16:1-5.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> In California, common hosts include species of maple (Acer), alder, (Alnus), apple (Malus), cottonwood (Populus), plum (Prunus), locust (Robinia), willow (Salix), birch (Betula), hawthorn (Crataegus), and elm (Ulmus). European mistletoe does not appear to infect oak, eucalyptus, or conifer species within its current California distribution. Its initial distribution has been very urban in nature, infesting many popular planted tree species in city areas.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

Most infect 1 to several native tree species, but big leaf mistletoe infects many ornamentals and natives, except oak ( Quercus ).<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> GENERAL DESCRIPTION : Widespread shrubby perennial parasites and hemiparasites that grow on the stems of trees and certain shrubs. All mistletoes depend on their hosts for water, mineral nutrients, and to some extent, carbohydrates.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Host damage can range from minor swellings to death, depending on the mistletoe species, severity of infection, and health of the host.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Mistletoes provide food and nesting habitat for many animal species and may be important contributors to the health of natural communities.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> SIMILAR SPECIES : The mistletoes are distinct and unlikely to be confused with any other species.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

Trees weakened by mistletoe infections are more susceptible to attack by insects and fungi, which may lead to increased mortality rates.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Heavy mistletoe infections are undesirable in landscapes, orchards, and managed forest-systems.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

Dispersed seed (removed from berries) survives ~ 1 season. Mistletoe shoots loose water through transpiration at much greater rates than host trees and are unable to control their stomata (pores) during drought conditions.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Removing mistletoe shoots can help prevent drought stress in host trees, but may also stimulate the endophytic system to expand and produce new shoots.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Drought stress occurs in host trees when mistletoe shoots preferentially draw water from the host during periods of water-shortage. The endophytic system can live as long as its host.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Chemical growth regulators also control growth and dispersal, but do not affect the endophytic system and must be reapplied when mistletoe shoots re-grow.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> MANAGEMENT FAVORING/DISCOURAGING SURVIVAL : In landscapes and orchards, regular pruning of infected branches can control mistletoe growth and seed dispersal.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Limbs should be cut at least 30 cm below the mistletoe shoots. In orchards, this is already a common practice.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> The first mistletoe shoots grow only a few millimeters from buds on the holdfast.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

Mistletoe tissues can maintain greater concentrations of solutes or osmotic potentials than host tissues.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

All dwarf and American mistletoe species occurring in California are native plants.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Identification of individual species of dwarf and American mistletoes can be difficult. Heavy infections of these species cause more damage and economic loss in western forests than any other insect pest or disease.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

The endophytic system can survive indefinitely within a host without producing aerial shoots. In some species, the endophytic system often develops right behind the apical meristem of the host, infecting new branches as they develop and causing systemic infections. Dwarf mistletoes extract most of their carbohydrate requirements from host trees.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> In managed forest-systems, dwarf mistletoe infections spread faster in single species stands, uneven-aged or multi-storied stands, and stands with open canopies.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

American mistletoes: Hemiparasites of broad-leaved trees, shrubs, and some conifers throughout the southern half of the U.S. to central Chile and Argentina. Overall, these species cause less damage than dwarf mistletoes.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> American mistletoes: Grow on many species of native and ornamental broad-leaved trees and shrubs and some conifers in temperate to desert and tropical regions.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

American mistletoes: Berries sessile, spherical to ovoid, translucent white, pink, or reddish, ~ 3-6 mm in diameter, with thick perianth parts at the apex.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> American mistletoes: Throughout California, except North Coast; to southern Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Mexico.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

Infected branches should be pruned to at least 30 cm (12 in) behind (proximal to) the infection for American and European mistletoes or to the trunk for dwarf mistletoes.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a> Fire suppression and past forestry practices have led to large increases of dwarf mistletoe infection in some areas.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

European mistletoe: Berries +/- spherical, translucent white, mostly 6-10 mm in diameter on short, straight stalks.<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank" [5]</a>

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<a name="hdng4"></a>Mistletoe infections on branches within six inches of the tree trunk have likely spread into the main tree stem; if the main stem is less than five inches in diameter where the infected branch attaches, the entire tree should be removed. Otherwise, remove the infected branch and periodically scrape shoots off the trunk should they appear. <a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> The length of time it takes for mistletoe to kill a tree depends on the age of the tree, how vigorous the tree is, and how heavily infested the tree is with mistletoe. They become progressively weaker and eventually die as a direct result of the parasite, or succumb to other problems like bark beetles. Trees are usually killed within about 10 to 15 years once they become heavily infected.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> Control: The best treatment option for mistletoe depends on the degree of infestation, the age and location of the tree, and concerns of property owner.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> Research on ponderosa pine mistletoe in the Rocky Mountains has shown that reapplication is needed after 4 years since new shoots will grow back. Based on their research, the USDA-Forest Service recommends applying ethephon at the rate of 2200 ppm for control of this variety of mistletoe.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> An environmentally safe, growth-regulating chemical, ethephon, has be used to control the spread of dwarf mistletoes. It causes the shoots to dehydrate and fall off. This treatment will not kill the parasite, but will slow its spread by seeds. Thorough coverage of all shoots with the spray (spray until wet) is necessary to obtain good results.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> Dwarf mistletoes are parasitic plants which infect all coniferous tree species in Nevada except incense cedar and junipers. These two species are infected by true mistletoes.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> Since most species of dwarf mistletoe in Nevada are considered host specific, the disease can be controlled by favoring tree species which are known to be immune to the dwarf mistletoe species present.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a>

Broomed branches are loosely arranged masses of twigs and foliage and are very conspicuous in the lower crowns of older trees. Damage Caused: Dwarf mistletoes weaken trees by robbing the tree of food and water, and disrupting the movement of these important materials within the tree.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a>

There are 14 species of dwarf mistletoe which may infect the state's native conifers.<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a> A common system for assessing the severity of a dwarf mistletoe infection is the 6-Class Dwarf Mistletoe Rating System (DMR).<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank" [6]</a>

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<a name="sources"><a href="#" onclick="toggle_visibility('srcs'); return false;" title="Most Informative Documents, used in preparation of this report.">
SELECTED SOURCES<image src="apx4.jpg" alt="Most Informative Documents, used in preparation of this report."></a>

1. <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank">Mistletoe Extracts - National Cancer Institute</a>
<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe" TARGET="_blank">http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe</a>

2. <a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe/healthprofessional" TARGET="_blank">Mistletoe Extracts - National Cancer Institute</a>
<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe/healthprofessional" TARGET="_blank">http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/mistletoe/healthprofessional</a>

3. <a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank">U.S. Geological Survey: Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees, and Other Beasts</a>
<a href="http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/" TARGET="_blank">http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/special/mistletoe/</a>

4. <a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank">European Mistletoe (Viscum album L.) [NCCAM Herbs at a Glance]</a>
<a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/" TARGET="_blank">http://nccam.nih.gov/health/eurmistletoe/</a>

5. <a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank">Mistletoes</a>
<a href="http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm" TARGET="_blank">http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/PHPPS/IPC/weedinfo/viscum.htm</a>

6. <a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank">Nevada Division of Forestry, Forest Health Program - Dwarf Mistletoe</a>
<a href="http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm" TARGET="_blank">http://www.forestry.nv.gov/main/health_dwarf.htm</a>

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