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Amyema mackayensis

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Amyema mackayensis
Photo © Gerhard Glatzel

Common Names

Mangrove Mistletoe ([1])

Family

Loranthaceae

Name ref

Amyema mackayensis (Blakely) Danser

Origin of Name

'Amyema' is Greek, referring to a genus previously not known. 'mackayensis' is a reference to the type locality of Mackay, Queensland. ([1])

Synopsis

A mistletoe which is a parasite on many mangrove plants which elliptic (oval), fleshy leaves, flowers with 5 petals and elliptic fruit ([1]).

Botanical Description

An aerial stem parasite with an upright or spreading habit. Leaves are opposite, elliptic (oval), somewhat fleshy, 30-60 cm long and 22-45 cm wide with a rounded apex.

The inflorescence is an umbel (consisting of a number of short flower stalks) with red to yellow-green flowers, each 15-18 cm long with 5 petals.

The fruit are oval, berry-like, producing one seed ([1]).

Distribution

In Australia this species occurs in Western Australia, sporadically across the coast in the Northern Territory and in Queensland. It is also found in New Guinea ([1]).

See Atlas of Living Australia

Habitat

This species has been recorded growing on the following hosts in the Northern Territory: Rhizophora stylosa, Avicennia marina, Campostemon schultzii and Aegiceras corniculatum ([1]).

In other states it has also been recorded from: Lumnitzera, Excoecaria, Thespesia, Ceriops tagal, Rhizophora mucronata and several other non-mangrove plants ([1]).

Biological Interactions
Group Taxon
  10 taxa
Vascular Plants Aegiceras corniculatum
Vascular Plants Avicennia marina
Vascular Plants Camptostemon schultzii
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Excoecaria
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera
Vascular Plants Rhizophora mucronata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora stylosa
Vascular Plants Thespesia
Birds Dicaeum hirundinaceum

Biology

Produces flowers and fruit throughout the year ([1]).

Mistletoebirds (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) are the primary distributors of this species. The seeds are expelled from the birds within 25 minutes of being eaten and the sticky residue adheres to branches of potential hosts. As the seeds germinate they grow into the host. The reddish petals attract birds as pollinators ([2], [3]).

Similar Species

Amyema mackayensis can be distinguished from Amyema thalassia by a 5-merous corolla, 3-4 rays and elliptic leaves. Amyema thalassia has a 4-merous corolla, 2 rays and orbicular-obovate leaves ([1]).

Links

The Parasitic Plant Collection: http://www.parasiticplants.siu.edu/NewGuineaLoranths/Amyema/Amackayensis.html

North Queensland Plants: http://www.northqueenslandplants.com/Amyema/mackayense.html

FloraBase: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/14109

Capricorn Coast Flora: http://mycapricorncoast.com/plants/mangrove%20mistletoe.html

-- EmmaClifton - 13 Jul 2010

References

  1. Wightman, G. (2006). Mangroves of the Northern Territory, Australia: identification and traditional use. Northern Territory. Dept. of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, Palmerston. (more)
  2. Liddy, J. (1983). Dispersal of Australian mistletoes: the Cowiebank Study. In: Calder, M. and bernhardt, D. (eds.), The biology of mistletoes. Academic Press, Sydney. (more)
  3. Keast, A. (1981). Ecological biogeography of Australia, 3 volumes. W. Junk, the Hague. (more)

All taxa related to Amyema_mackayensis

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
HasEndozoochore Dicaeum_hirundinaceum Birds
PreyOf Ogyris_amaryllis Lepidoptera
Predates Aegiceras_corniculatum Vascular_Plants
Predates Avicennia_marina Vascular_Plants
Predates Camptostemon_schultzii Vascular_Plants
Predates Rhizophora_mucronata Vascular_Plants
Predates Rhizophora_stylosa Vascular_Plants
Predates Excoecaria Vascular_Plants
Predates Lumnitzera Vascular_Plants
Predates Thespesia Vascular_Plants