Common name. Mistletoes. Family Loranthaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Shrubs; evergreen. Plants rootless (in the normal sense); partially parasitic. On aerial parts of the host. Leaves cauline (ass.). Stem internodes solid (ass.). Stem growth conspicuously sympodial. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves opposite; leathery, or membranous; petiolate; edgewise to the stem, or with ‘normal’ orientation; simple. Leaf blades entire; narrowly elliptic to oblong, or oblong to ovate, or linear; curvinerved; attenuate at the base. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent (ass.). Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous, or ornithophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in heads (2 opposite sessile triads). The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary; dichasial. Flowers sessile; bracteate (lateral and central); bracteolate (the two bracteoles adnate to form a ‘calyculus’ external to the calyx); regular to somewhat irregular. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth. Flowers cyclic; tetracyclic. Floral receptacle markedly hollowed. Free hypanthium present; adnate to the ovary. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 3–9; 2 -whorled, or 1 -whorled. Calyx present (KPC), or vestigial (A); 1 -whorled; polysepalous; open in bud; regular; persistent. Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous; valvate; elongate; unequal but not bilabiate, or bilabiate, or regular; green (in mature bud). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 5. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); all equal (ass.); free of one another (ass.); 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; all more or less similar in shape (ass.); isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous (epipetalous). Anthers basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular (K), or four locular (A); bisporangiate, or tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 3 carpelled, or 4 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1. Ovules not differentiated; in the single cavity 1–20 (1 or several); sessile; ascending; non-arillate; not clearly differentiated from the placenta.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy (usually), or non-fleshy (rarely); indehiscent; a berry, or a drupe; 1 seeded (per locule). Seeds copiously endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds covered with viscous material; without a testa. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2, or 1.
Etymology. From the Greek for "double" and "the flat of the hand"; refers to the two involucral bracts.