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Family:  VISCACEAE

 Viscum crassulae
 
 
  
Author:  Christian Friedrich Ecklon & Zeyher
Family:  Viscaceae
Habitat:  Port Elizabeth, Southern Africa
Soil:  No, it grows on: Euphorbia and Portulacaria
Water:  No, sap from the host
Sun:  Medium - Maximum
Thickness:  2 centimetres
Height:  30 centimetres
Flower:  Yellowish
Reproduction:  Seeds

   This parasitic plant was described by Christian Friedrich Ecklon and Zeyher. It is found small isolated areas around Port Elizabeth in southern Africa, growing on different plants like Euphorbia and  Portulacaria. It prefers some to much sun, and can grow to a rather dense plant, 30 centimetres in diameter. The small flowers are yellowish, the berries are orange.

 

Ph.d. Bo I. Jørgensen and horticulturist Jørgen S.Damgaard Pedersen of the Botanical Garden,University of Copenhagen, have developed a method for mass propagation of plant parasites most notably mistletoes. This technology have been patented by the University in USA, South Africa and some European countries, more will come. As the method was developed using the South African mistletoe Viscum crassulae as model it was decided to commercialise it in South Africa as a black empowerment project. “Fair Plant Nursery Pty (Ltd)” was founded in May 2004 and is a blackempowered export nursery located in George, South Africa. One of Fair Plant Nursery’s objectives is to be one of the first nurseries to be able to trade under the Fair Trade Label worldwide. Fair Plant Nursery is ajoint venture between New Plant Nursery, George, South Africa, the Danish nursery Danverde a/s, Jørgen S. Damgaard Pedersen and Bo I. Jørgensen, both from the Botanical Garden. The joint venture is in part based on the patented production technology, but does also include development of other ornamental plants for export to the markets in Europe and USA. Ornamental horticulture is a billion $ business and the perspectives for job-creation and generation of export income seem very promising. The joint venture has received funding in the form of a start-up grant from the Danish BtB programme in South Africa.