Plant Parasite on Pomegranate

Pardon the alliteration. I found this when pruning my pomegranate this morning. Does it look like a bud mutation/sport or some kind of parasite growing on my pomegranate? Never seen this before and completely different looking to any typical pom growth. It’s coming out of a kind of raised scar (not sure if past pruning cut-- moved here last year and tree predates me) on the bark of one of the trunks.

That looks like Mistletoe.


It is mistletoe. We have a lot of it in Texas. Only a little right here. Much more in SE Texas.


Thanks @PharmerDrewee and @fruitnut

I had never known it to be common here, but your tips and some Wikipediaing revealed the Western species to be Phoradendron villosum.

After seeing pictures of “mature” plants, I realized further what was affecting the large ornamental pear in the back lawn as well (about 50 ft from the pomegranate). There are 10-15 of these in that tree. Zoomed shot of that just now below, I had also thought that the pear tree was struggling and this was some mutation or damage response. Now I know!

So… remove it, yes?

I certainly would and that’s recommended practice.

Mistletoe Management Guidelines–UC IPM (


That’s a really great resource! One important tip to emphasize when removing them is to remove the entire branches they are growing on, otherwise they may regrow from tissue embedded in the host:

The most effective way to control mistletoe and prevent its spread is to prune out infested branches as soon as possible. Using thinning-type pruning cuts, remove branches at their point of origin or back to large lateral branches. It is likely that infested branches will need to be cut at least one foot below the point of mistletoe attachment to completely remove embedded haustoria.

On the pomegranate, since I caught it relatively small, I’m going to “gamble” as I sawed off about 1/8" below the bark surface where the sprouts were coming out. I also notched a few spaces deeper where I could see the green roots / “haustoria” penetrating into the wood. I’ll monitor for new sprouts actively. Not the end of the world if I eventually have to remove the limb but would rather not if I can avoid it.

The ornamental pear will really need to get the chop as it’s fairly tall and a number of the main scaffolds have them halfway up. Estimating branch tips are 15-20’ beyond the mistletoe on some of the limbs!