And the winner is.........my fellow Hiram College alum and botany buddy Jenn Clevinger (go Terriers!). She guessed the identity of this native Ohio plant species exactly 35 minutes after these goo-covered seeds went up on the blog. But did anyone have an inkling that this might be our native mistletoe?
The whole "Christmas plant quiz" was the hint. It's interesting how several plant groups are associated with Christmas, like the conifers, the poinsettia, and mistletoe. I can't think of any others, but perhaps there are more?
The fruits of our native mistletoe are white. The coating of the fruit can be easily stripped away, revealing this gooey gelatinous ball with a seed inside. The goo helps the seed stick to a tree, and then the seed can germinate and begin to parasitize the tree. Only the extreme southern counties in Ohio have mistletoe, it is really a southern species. In fact, this sample was brought back to me sometime last February by former ODNR Natural Areas & Preserves Chief Steve Maurer, who snatched it somewhere along the Natchez Trace. I took the photographs way back then, always meaning to do a blog post with them. What better time then Christmas?
For more about our native mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum, check out Jim McCormac's account from almost one year ago when he was
gallivanting i mean driving around counting blue jays in Southern Ohio.
Because it's almost Christmas and I'm beginning to get a bit giddy, and to show more Terrier love, this post is about to really deteriorate. Here is our beloved bull terrier mascot doing a mighty good "robot" dance, but really, he needs to work on his moon walk.