Phoradendron californicum, or desert mistletoe, is a sight familiar to locals. (Royce H. iNaturslist)
Phoradendron californicum, or desert mistletoe, is a sight familiar to locals. (Royce H. iNaturslist)

Do you have a desert tree or shrub in your yard that has become host to yellow-green bundles of desert mistletoe?

Assistant Editor and reporter Laura Jean Schneider dispels some common myths about the hemiparasite and talks with Evolutionary Ecologist Kelsey M. Yule about how desert mistletoe provides incredible habitat and nutrition for wildlife.

I always thought desert mistletoe was all bad news for the trees and shrubs it lives on, but I didn't know it rarely kills its host. Did reading this story change your perception of the plant?