Mistletoe Tree Parasite – the Beautiful Herb of Wintertime

Biology, Medicine
[caption id="attachment_15887" align="alignright" width="440"] A single clump of mistletoe tree parasite.[/caption] If runners develop athlete’s foot, what do rocket scientists develop? –Mistletoe. So goes a bad joke. Most people are familiar with the use of the mistletoe tree parasite in holiday celebrations. The history behind such use is readily available online. But just what is mistletoe? How does it grow? And what is mistletoe good for? Let’s check it out. Mistletoe Tree Parasite There are many varieties of mistletoe. They grow as independent globular clusters in tree branches and some shrubs. As a result, mistletoe in trees becomes most visible in cold weather, when leaves fall.  Although the plants largely subsist on nutrients produced by the host plant, mistletoe does produce some of its own food via photosynthesis. So officially…
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Black Knot Tree Fungus on Fruit Trees – Development and Health Issues

Biology, Health
[caption id="attachment_26968" align="alignright" width="440"] Image Bon McNeish, Edit Jonas Korte.[/caption]Black knot tree fungus (Apiosporina morbos) produces swellings on branches, limbs, and even trunks of fruit trees that can appear smooth to grainy to pebbly, depending upon the size of the knot. Photos in this article feature large specimens. Note the texture in the black knot close-up. Black Knot Tree Fungus on What Trees? Black knot tree fungus favors trees of the genus Prunus growing in a temperate zone. This genus falls within the Rosaceae or rose family of plants. This includes such fruit trees as plum, cherry, apricot, and peach. Interestingly, the almond tree is also a member of Prunus. These trees (yes, even the almond tree) feature showy flowers and fruits with large seeds, many of them called stones.…
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