Like all other mistletoe species, the European mistletoe has no roots which strive into the ground to absorb water and minerals. Instead, the mistletoe germ develops a so called haustorium in the branch of the host in order to connect with the tree's water transport system, which allows it to obtain water, minerals and certain organic substances.
Compared to most other flowering plants shoot development is strongly inhibited in the European mistletoe. Instead of growing as many leaves as quickly as possible for optimal photosynthesis during a vegetation period, the buds merely grow one stem with just a couple of plain leaves. Large mistletoe bushes are therefore often over 10 years old.
Predominant in the European mistletoe is the growth of the white berries which develop from inconspicuous flowers.