Original Research

Mistletoes, their host plants and the effects of browsing by large mammals in Addo Elephant National Park

J.J. Midgley, D. Joubert
Koedoe | Vol 34, No 2 | a430 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v34i2.430 | © 1991 J.J. Midgley, D. Joubert | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 September 1991 | Published: 23 September 1991

About the author(s)

J.J. Midgley, Saasveld, South Africa
D. Joubert, Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

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Abstract

There are at least four plant hemiparasites [=mistletoes, viz. Viscaceae (3 species), Loranthaceae (1 species)] within the Addo Elephant National Park. Highly selective utilisation of these plant parasites by large browsing animals has resulted in severe decline of these plants within the elephant enclosure. The parasites are often associated with spinescent host plants. We suggest this has less to do with escaping herbivory by large mammals and more to do with spinescent plants being optimum hosts because they are a richer nutritient source for plant parasites than most non-spinescent plants.

Keywords

parasitic plants, Viscum, Moquinella, herbivores, spinescence, Addo Elephant National Park.

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