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Wood Anatomy of Four Californian Mistletoe Species (Phoradendron, Viscaceae)

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Secondary xylem characteristics were compared in four species of Phoradendron Nutt. (Viscaceae) native to California. All have extremely short, thick-walled vessel elements with simple perforation plates. They also share high vessel density, radial vessel arrangement, thick-walled fibres, and multiseriate, heterocellular rays. The fibres show considerable intrusive growth. Features of the vessel elements (i.e. vessel dimensions, arrangement, type of wall sculpturing) and calcium oxalate crystals in the ray parenchyma cells are useful diagnostic traits to separate species. Grooved vessel walls are shared by the morphologically similar P. villosum and P. macrophyllum. Differences between these two species may reflect contrasting drought response strategies pursued by respective hosts. Vulnerability and mesomorphy ratios of the wood of P. californicum are higher than those of P. pauciflorum and P. macrophyllum. Phoradendron pauciflorum has the most xeromorphic wood of the four species studied.


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