Wednesday, March 7

kissing under a mistletoe

adri, myself and george went with mom when she last checked in on the renovations at the house in concep, and we discovered this growing on one of the duhat trees lining the pond:

i wouldn't have noticed it if it weren't for the beautiful red flowers which just didn't fit in as i was staring at a very old duhat tree.

it often comes as a surprise to people that mistletoe (yes, the popular kiss-under-a-sprig-of-mistletoe-at-christmas mistletoe) is native to the philippines.  i have also learned this only relatively recently... side information from birding of course.

flowerpeckers enjoy eating mistletoe fruit, and as they pass the seeds, they are so sticky they have to wipe them on a branch, securing a spot for the mistletoe to grow and flourish, its roots digging into the host plant for nutrients.  yes, mistletoe is a semi- parasitic plant.  and the literal translation of "mistletoe" is "dung on a twig," maybe because of the way it is propagated?  adri did a very nice video from some of nicky's recordings for bap which you can watch here, here and here.

i also learned that certain butterflies, the jezebels (delias sp.) use the mistletoe as a host plant (from lydia of course).

it took me some time to search the net (and it didn't help that justin bieber had a song with the title mistletoe! try googling it!), but i finally found a reference which led me to think this one with nice red flowers is Amyema incarnatiflora.  

my internet search even brought up a set of stamps issued by the philippine postal office in 2007. (it's the 3rd on the top row)

i'm hoping for confirmation of my id from experts.

in the meantime, i'm excited by this discovery, mistletoe in the garden! i had seen plenty of these parasitic plants while birding, although it's ironic that the first flowering specimen i would observe would be so close to home. another thing to look forward to when going home to tarlac (& i don't just mean the kissing)!  

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