Mistletoes are an iconic feature of the Nelson area but have now declined to tiny fragments (except for Ileostylus which is still common in some areas).
They are an indicator of the natural environment's condition. Protecting forest with QEII covenants helps to improve the environment for mistletoes by excluding stock, controlling possums and providing healthy surroundings for new host tree seedlings to flourish.
Above: Scarlet mistletoe Peraxilla colensoi on silver beech in the 2.8ha beech-podocarp forest open space covenant of Peter Clausen and Sue Rewcastle at Dovedale, inland Nelson. Photo: Philip Lissaman
Right: Old silver beech trees and scarlet mistletoes are features of the Hyatt & Sons Limited 640ha Life of Trees covenant in Korere.
If beech regeneration is poor for any reason, for example, lack of parent trees or drought, then the start to regeneration is planting seedlings of the appropriate species for the area.
Nurseries may have eco-sourced plants or it may be possible to collect seedlings from strongly regenerating places.
This forest covenant was a source of silver beech seedlings for a 'start' of a mistletoe project; 400 seedlings from here have been planted in areas where beech is not regenerating and these may be seeded with mistletoe in 5-8 years time.
Above: The seedlings shown here are the ideal size for collection to be grown on in a nursery. Photo: Philip Lissaman
Above: Scarlet mistletoe is a recent find in the 3.5ha beech forest remnant in Tadmor protected by Harry and Joan Hancock. Photo: Philip Lissaman
Above: White mistletoe Tupeia antarctica on marbleleaf (putaputaweta) in a lowland primary forest remnant in Dovedale, inland Nelson.
Protected with a 10.6ha QEII covenant in June 2007 by Ian Hannen and Elaine Newman, the remnant contains three mistletoe species and is possibly the best fruiting source in the area for collecting white mistletoe seeds. Photo: Philip Lissaman
Download a mistletoe conservation fact sheet (PDF 431KB) with tips on collecting and planting mistletoe seeds, identifying beech trees, and common host trees for each mistletoe species.
Open SpaceTM Magazine No. 73 July 2008 © QEII National Trust