A perennial parasitic plant that grows on various conifers, particularly junipers in natural forested areas. Serious damage is done to infested trees and shrubs, including stunted growth, stem deformities, and possibly death of the host tree. Infested trees may respond with growth of profuse, dense masses of needles, called “witches’ broom”, at the outer ends of the branch. All parts of the mistletoe are poisonous to mammals, but many birds and mammals do feed on the berries and other plant parts.
Physical removal of the mistletoe plant may not be effective and may stimulate the parasite to expand its root system, but pruning infested branches of the host tree back to the trunk can eliminate that plant and its roots. Treatment of the mistletoe with a directed application of the growth regulator Florel can kill the parasite, with multiple treatments likely needed.