Peraxilla tetrapetala

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Species

Peraxilla tetrapetala

Etymology

tetrapetala: four winged

Common Name(s)

Red mistletoe, pikirangi, pirita, roeroe, pirinoa

Current Threat Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

Previous Threat Status

2009 - At Risk - Declining
2004 - Gradual Decline

Qualifiers

2012 - CD
2009 - CD

Authority

Peraxilla tetrapetala (L.f.) Tiegh.

Qualifiers

CD

Family

Loranthaceae

Brief Description

Fleshy shrub to 3m wide growing on inner branches of beech trees with glossy green fleshy paired leaves and masses of red tubular flowers. Leaves to 2.5cm long, blistered, diamond shaped. Flowers to 4cm long. Fallen petals litter forest floor under plants. Fruit green.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Synonyms

Elytranthe tetrapetala (L.f.) Engl., Loranthus tetrapetalus L.f., Loranthus decussatus Kirk

Distribution

North and South Island, but less common in the North Island.

Habitat

Coastal to montane. A hemiparasite whose main hosts are mountain beech (N. solandri var. cliffortioides), black beech (Nothofagus solandri var. solandri), red beech (N. fusca), and silver beech (N. menziesii). However, it has been recorded as a parasite on a further 17 species (2 exotic) including puriri (Vitex luceans) and pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa).

Features

A shrub that can grow up to 2 m across. It usually parasitises close to the trunk of its host. It has characteristic small raised blisters or lesions on small, usually rhombic leaves. The flowers are solitary or 2-4 together and are bright red (up to 40 mm long). The ripe fruit is fleshy and green. Veins on the leaves are hardly evident and only the midrib is conspicuous. Leaf tips are never notched. Host trees are typically beech or Quintinia.

Similar Taxa

Peraxilla colensoi, Ileostylus micranthus. Peraxilla tetrapetala has leaves mostly oblong or diamond-shaped, with blister galls, 1-3 flowers per flower cluster and dull green fruit. It grows on black and mountain beech. P. colensoi is generally larger, has 3-10 flowers per flower cluster, wider leaves, no blisters and bright yellow fruit and usually grows on silver beech. Ileostylus micranthus has green flowers and does not parasitise beech.

Flowering

October to January

Main Flower Colour

Red / Pink

Fruiting

April to June

Propagation Technique

Can be grown from fresh seed placed on suitable host tissue (ideally Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides). Although seed germinates readily the ability of the seedling to form a firm host is rather variable. Failure rates are high and experimentation with plenty of fresh seed is usually needed.

Threats

A wide variety of threats are now acknowledged as working in unison to cause the national decline of this and allied leafy mistletoes species. The most obvious threat seems to be brush tailed possums (Trichosurus vulpecula), which heavily browse mistletoes, to such an extent that they are held as the primary cause for the loss of the beech mistletoes from large parts of the countries beech forest.

Chromosome No.

2 n= 24

Endemic Taxon

Yes

Endemic Genus

Yes

Endemic Family

No

This page last updated on 3 Jan 2014

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