Mistletoes are very fascinating parasitic plants. Unlike most common plants, mistletoes grow on the branches of other plants and rely on these “host” plants for water and nutrients. Scientists have been trying to understand why parasitic plants differ in the number of host species parasitised.
Like many parasitic plants, mistletoes can parasitise from one to several plant species. A recent review published in AoB PLANTS by Okubamichael et al. contributes to the current broad understanding of parasite–host interactions using mistletoe as a case study. Future research needs are also highlighted.
Okubamichael, D. Y., Griffiths, M. E., & Ward, D. (2016). Host specificity in parasitic plants—perspectives from mistletoes. AoB Plants, 8, plw069. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plw069