Mistletoes 5: Germination of Macrosolen cochinchinensis
A Macrosolen cochinchinensis seed, when deposited on to the branch of a host plant by a bird, germinates by growing a green stalk with a disc-like tip. This stalk elongates, arching back to send its disc-like tip fusing into the stem of the host plant to become the haustorium. When the haustorium is firmly attached, the seed is lifted off, the seed coat shrivels and drops off to reveal the first pair of leaves, the cotyledons! The shoot then elongates, giving rise to further pairs of leaves.
Note: This plant is a tropical mistletoe, a semi-parasite that grows on the branches of many wayside trees and ornamental plants. Please see our earlier postings on the plants, seeds and germination and accounts by a naturalist and a sometime bird watcher.
Text and images by Angie Ng