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MISTLETOE

MISTLETOE FAUNA

Mistletoe has a manifold relationship with the fauna: birds spread it, insects pollinate it and many natural antagonists regulate the mistletoe stock.

Mistletoe embryos cannot free themselves from the fruit. They rely on certain types of birds which feed on its berries during the winter and thereby free the sticky mistletoe seed. The mistle thrush and the Eurasian blackcap are the most important species that spread mistletoe. Waxwings also play a role.

Mistletoe is dioecious. Male and female mistletoe flowers develop on different mistletoe bushes. Since the wind is unable to carry mistletoe pollen to the stigma of the female flower, insects which are also active during winter are responsible for the pollination of mistletoe.

Natural antagonists limit the spreading of mistletoe. Tits feed on mistletoe seeds during the winter. In spring, snails eat the budding mistletoe seedlings, but also young twigs. Even mice and deer have mistletoe on their menu.

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