We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Dwarf Mistletoe?

By Britt Archer
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Dwarf mistletoe is not the same plant that a holiday merrymaker hangs overhead with the hope of stealing a kiss from the person who is caught under the dangling sprig with him. The kissing tradition is not tied to the dwarf variety, which has green berries. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe is reserved for the variety with white berries. The dwarf type is notable for the way it reproduces, a method that employs water under pressure to disperse its seeds. This method allows the dwarf mistletoe to shoot is seeds more than 60 feet (18.28 meters).

The cells of Arceuthobium americanum, or dwarf mistletoe, are designed to forcefully expel the water that is stored in them. This forced expulsion acts as a sort of slingshot for the seeds. The method is quite successful and has enabled the dwarf mistletoe to reproduce prolifically. Its unique method of reproduction ensures its survival in a forest, but it is detrimental to many kinds of timber. In some locations, dwarf mistletoe is considered invasive and especially harmful. Mistletoe plants all take minerals and water from their host trees, but the dwarf variety takes this parasitic relationship a step further by also taking the host tree’s sugar stores, weakening the host.

Known also as witches’ brooms, dwarf mistletoe is particularly invasive in North America where it attacks a variety of hemlock trees, several types of pine, western larch and the Douglas fir. The plant is also found in Central America, Africa and Asia. The devastation it causes leads to a weakening of the host trees and eventually to the death of trees. In some dwarf species, with the help of high winds, the plant can cast its seeds as far as 100 feet (30.48 meters). Smaller and younger trees, less than a decade old, generally escape the parasite’s devastation because it tends to attack taller and older trees.

A relative, the European mistletoe, attaches itself mainly to oak and apple trees. The sight of its green leaves and white berries in winter, flourishing when most plants in the countryside are barren, led to its association with strength and fertility. Different parts of the European mistletoe have been used for their medicinal properties. No clinical evidence exists that the plant can fight cancer in humans, although it attacks some cancerous cells in laboratory test tubes, and some people have relied on it for cancer treatment since the early 20th century. Uses of mistletoe in medicine include high blood pressure, certain heart conditions, hemorrhoids, gout, epilepsy, depression, menopause, headaches, and some other conditions.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.