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tetrapetala: four winged
Red mistletoe, pikirangi, pirita, roeroe, pirinoa
Current Threat Status
2012 - At Risk - Declining
Previous Threat Status
2009 - At Risk - Declining
2004 - Gradual Decline
2012 - CD
2009 - CD
Peraxilla tetrapetala (L.f.) Tiegh.
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.
Vascular - Native
Elytranthe tetrapetala (L.f.) Engl., Loranthus tetrapetalus L.f., Loranthus decussatus Kirk
North and South Island, but less common in the North Island.
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).
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.
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.
October to January
Main Flower Colour
Red / Pink
April to June
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.
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.
2 n= 24
This page last updated on 3 Jan 2014