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Family: Loranthaceae

Scientific name: Phoradendron serotinum (Raf.) M.C. Johnst.

Common name: Mistletoe

Description: Mistletoes are parasitic plants that grow on a variety of trees and shrubs. Their stems usually are swollen at the nodes and brittle, and they have many branches. Leaves are opposite and vary from triangular scales to leathery, evergreen leaves. Flowers are inconspicuous, unisexual, and lack petals. Fruits are one-seeded white berries with sticky pulp that adheres to the beaks of birds that feed on the fruits .

Occurrence: Several species grow widely throughout North America.

Toxicity: Mistletoe is most familiar as a Christmas decoration. The toxic berries contain the pressor amines, tyramine and betaphenylethylamine. The berries or tea brewed from then are toxic. The berries should be kept out of the reach of children.

Symptoms: Mistletoe produces gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, and cardiovascular collapse.

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