Santalaceae (weeds)

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Viscum cruciatum (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Santalaceae (weeds) - (sandalwood family)

The family contains around 1,000 species of small trees, shrubs and epiphytic hemiparasitic plants. The latter group includes the mistletoes, several of which are considered important parasites of forest trees. Under some taxonomic systems, the Christmas mistletoes (e.g. the genera Viscum and Arceuthobium) have been classified under a separate family, the Viscaceae.

The mistletoes penetrate the branches of trees and obtain water, minerals and nutrients from the host trees, reducing their growth. Heavy infestations might kill the host. They have green leaves and typically generate at least some nutrients through photosynthesis.

The following genera are currently entered under this family: