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Species Page

juniper dwarf mistletoe

Arceuthobium oxycedri

Distribution

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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

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List of symptoms / signs

Stems - distortion
Stems - witches broom

Prevention and control

In its natural range, A. oxycedri is not an invasive pest, nor are its hosts of importance for forestry, and it is therefore not subject to any particular control measures. On the contrary, as the sole European representative of its genus, it has value for biological diversity in Europe. If, however, it was introduced into other continents and attacked Juniperus spp., or other Cupressaceae, valuable for forestry, the measures applied for North American species would no doubt be appropriate.

Herbicides have been investigated in Spain for the control of A. oxycedri, and 2,4-D and MCPA was found to be most effective (Rios-Unsua, 1994). The only chemical approved for use against dwarf mistletoes is the ethylene-releasing growth regulator, ethephon, which can cause abscission of the shoots and delay fresh seeding for 2-4 years, but there is eventual re-growth from the endophyte. It is difficult to achieve good coverage in larger trees from the ground, whereas applications from the air fail to penetrate the canopy adequately. It is not known whether this treatment has been tested on A.oxycedri.

Impact

Though A. oxycedri damages its Juniperus hosts, this is of no real economic significance, since they are not forest trees grown for wood, nor important amenity trees. Juniperus spp. are significant components of Mediterranean vegetation, but their status in this respect is not impaired by Arceuthobium infection. A. oxycedri has the potential for economic impact however, as in North America Cupressaceae, (e.g. Juniperus virginiana), are of major economic importance.