Despite their devastating effects on trees and, therefore, conservation importance, little is known about mistletoe distribution and associations with trees. The study was conducted to determine mistletoe abundance, distribution and their associations with trees in Penang, Malaysia. Mistletoes and their hosts were sampled at two main sites, roadside and an adjacent interior site. A total of 1431 mistletoe shrubs belonging to five species, four genera and two families were identified. These were found on 29 tree species belonging to 24 genera and 13 families. The most abundant mistletoe species was Scurrula ferruginia (718 individuals) followed by Dendrophthoe pentandra (585 individuals). Mistletoe abundance differed significantly between the species (P 0.001) although it was similar between the roadside and interior sites (P = 0.565). Dendrophthoe pentandra infested 93 % of the recorded host species. Tabebuia pallida was the most frequently parasitised. Mistletoe abundance depended significantly on host diameter, height and crown shape. The mistletoes were non-randomly distributed between host species, and while some mistletoes preferred certain hosts, others were not found to have specific preferences. D. pentandra and S. ferruginia showed positive and negative associations, respectively with more tree species in the study. International Society for Tropical Ecology.
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