Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dendrophthoe vitellina (F.Muell.) Tiegh.

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Flowers. © CSIRO

Tieghem, P.E.L. van (1895) Bull. Soc. Bot. France 42: 86.


Aerial stem-parasitic shrub. Epicortical runners present.


Leaf blades about 6-17 x 1-2 cm, petioles about 1-4.5 cm long. Terminal buds clothed in rusty brown hairs.


Flowers borne in racemes of 5-20 flowers, pedicels about 1.5-4 mm long. Inflorescence axis about 5-50 mm long. Calyx + ovary clothed in brown hairs and scales, about 3-4 mm long, calyx irregularly toothed or lobed. Corolla tube about 20-25 mm long, corolla lobes about 5-12 mm long, margins warted towards the base on the inner surface. Anthers about 5 mm long, staminal filaments about 6-7 mm long. Ovary about 2.5-3 mm long. Style about 40 mm long. Stigma red, globular and terminal.


Fruits about 12-14 x 6-8 mm. Seeds about 8-9 mm long with five finger-like processes extending beyond the radicle. Seeds immersed in a sticky, translucent mucilage. Embryo green, about 12 mm long, cotyledons fused together. Endosperm white.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia.  Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as Victoria. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 1000 m. Usually parasitic on trees in open forest but also found quite frequently on Eucalyptus grandis in or on the edge of rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stage of the Black Jezabel, Red-banded Jezabel, Narcissus Jewel, Purple Oak-Blue, Dark Purple Azure, Golden Azure, Orange-tipped Azure, Sapphire Azure, Southern Purple Azure, Northern Purple Azure, Black-spotted Flash, Trident Pencilled-blue and Marbled Line-blue Butterflies. Braby, M. (2000).

Loranthus vitellinus F. Muell., Rep. Burdekin Exped. : 12(1860), Type: Queensland, near Ipswich, Beckler s. n.; Lecto: MEL. Fide Barlow (1966) Australian Journal Botany 14: 493. Loranthus longiflorus Benth., Flora Australiensis 3: 390(1867).
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