Exocarpos luzonensis (C.Presl) A.DC.
Exocarpos ovatus Blume
Xylophyllos latifolius (R.Br.) Kuntze
Common Name: Mistletoe Tree
Tree growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Mark Marathon
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Exocarpos latifolius is a semi-parasitic, evergreen plant, able to photosynthesize but also gaining nourishment from the roots of its host. An erect to spreading shrub or small tree, it usually grows up to 10 metres tall, occasionally reaching 20 metres[
]. The bole can be 15 - 25cm in diameter[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood.
The plant is considered to be poisonous by some native peoples[
Southeast Asia - Philippines and Indonesia to New Guinea and Australia.
Found in many habitats; shrubland, woodland and forest; esp. on coastal dunes; river banks and sandstone gullies; at low altitudes[
]. Reported hosts are Petalostigma spp., Canthium spp., Terminalia sp., Callitris sp. and the species itself[
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A plant of tropical and subtropical climates[
A very variable plant, occurring in a range of habitats[
The receptacle, fruit and seed are said to be edible (sometimes chewed with betel leaves because of the red colour) but aboriginals in Australia consider all parts toxic[
]. Faintly sweet, but quite astringent[
]. The succulent fruit is sweet and palatable when fully ripe, though it is astringent otherwise[
]. The red, obovoid fruiting pedicel is 4 - 8 mm long[
An infusion of the bark and the seeds is used as a contraceptive[
The seeds, leaves, bark and wood have all been used medicinally by the Australian Aborigines[
The dark-coloured, fragrant wood is very hard and coarse-grained[
]. The wood is whitish to pale reddish-brown, heavy, hard, strong and durable[
]. It takes an excellent polish and is used for cabinet work when of sufficient dimensions[
]. It is considered to be an inferior substitute for sandalwood, losing its fragrance rapidly[
]. It is not suited for timber because it is usually only available in small crooked dimensions, but it is used to make small utensils and handles[
Seed - when sown fresh in the nursery, it usually germinates within a few months, but it is extremely difficult to get the seedlings to survive very long, even when they are potted with potential hosts[
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