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Mistletoes are an enigmatic group of plants. Lacking roots and depending on other plants for their livelihood, they have inspired a range of beliefs throughout the world. Some people regard them as mystical plants endowed with magical properties, others as destructive weeds that devalue native habitats, and still others as beautiful native plants that support wildlife.
This book represents the first thorough treatment of mistletoes in Australia. It summarises their evolutionary origin and global distribution, highlighting diversity patterns in Australasia, and describes the ecology and life history of mistletoes, detailing the variety of animals that depend on them for food and shelter.
The author discusses the cultural significance of mistletoes, compares imported European beliefs with home-grown indigenous lore and looks at the role of mistletoe in contemporary art, design and medicine. He also explores the management of mistletoes, noting those situations where mistletoe becomes too abundant and offering practical solutions to achieve a more balanced outcome.
Finally, there is a guide to identifying mistletoes, including detailed species accounts for all 46 species found in southern Australia.
Beautifully illustrated by Robyn Hulley.
David M Watson is an ecologist with a long-standing interest in mistletoes. In addition to the ecology of parasitic plants, his research focuses on developing solutions to habitat fragmentation and managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. He lives on a rural property near Albury with his wife, three sons and a variety of other animals.