Mistletoes of Southern Australia

eBook - February 2011 - eRetailers

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The definitive authority on all 46 species of mistletoe found in southern Australia.

Mistletoes are an enigmatic group of plants. Lacking roots and depending on other plants for their livelihood, they have inspired a range of beliefs throughout the world. Some people regard them as mystical plants endowed with magical properties, others as destructive weeds that devalue native habitats, and still others as beautiful native plants that support wildlife. + Full description

This book represents the first thorough treatment of mistletoes in Australia. It summarises their evolutionary origin and global distribution, highlighting diversity patterns in Australasia, and describes the ecology and life history of mistletoes, detailing the variety of animals that depend on them for food and shelter. The book discusses the cultural significance of mistletoes, compares imported European beliefs with home-grown Indigenous lore and looks at the role of mistletoe in contemporary art, design and medicine. It also explores the management of mistletoes, noting those situations where mistletoe becomes too abundant and offering practical solutions to achieve a more balanced outcome. Finally, there is a guide to identifying mistletoes, including detailed species accounts for all 46 species found in southern Australia.

With 51 specially commissioned watercolours by artist Robyn Hulley and more than 130 colour photographs, Mistletoes of Southern Australia is the definitive authority on these intriguing native plants.

- Short description


No longer available in a print edition.


"This book is a treasure for anyone interested in mistletoes, and especially for botanists, ecologists and students who need to know more about these plants. It is beautifully presented with 51 specially commissioned water-colours by artist Robyn Hulley, and more than 130 colour photographs… As a keen bird-watcher, I particularly enjoyed the information on bird-assisted pollination and the features of mistletoe that attract nectar feeders such as Spinebills, Honeyeaters and Wattlebirds, as well as the mistletoe fruit specialists - the Mistletoebird and the Painted Honeyeater."
Suzan Phillips, Botany@suite101, http://suzanphillips.suite101.com/mistletoes-of-southern-australia---book-review-a399283, December 18 2011

"Don’t overlook this book if you live in northern Australia! The topic is intriguing. The book is well set-out, easy to read and understand, includes an identification guide and, above all, is beautifully illustrated."
Mike West, Wildlife Australia Magazine, Winter 2011, pp. 44

"David Watson’s mission is to bring mistletoes to a wide audience, foster an interest in mistletoes and highlight critical knowledge gaps. The content, layout and illustrations convey this message with ease.

Overall I commend this book as a very enjoyable and worthwhile read."
Ray A.J. Blick, Linnean Society of NSW, 2011

"I opened this book with a great deal of anticipation and pleasure and I have not been disappointed… The watercolour illustrations of all species make this a beautiful book as well… All in all, this is a wonderful book and I recommend it strongly to all land managers and field naturalists. To all bushwalkers and gardeners in southern Australia, this is a book of interest and will, no doubt, deepen your appreciation and love of the Australian bush and landscape. In some situations management and control of mistletoes is necessary, and the book gives clear advice on how such management can be achieved. Congratulations to all concerned."
Malcolm Calder, The Victorian Naturalist, Vol 128 (4), August 2011, pp. 153-154

"Mistletoes of Southern Australia should be on every botanist's and field naturalist's bookshelf. It is an easy to read and clearly presented publication that demystifies these strange plants either seen as destructive weeds that devalue native habitats or beautiful native plants that support a diversity of wildlife."
R.G. Richardson, Meredith, Plant Protection Quarterly Vol.26(4) 2011, pp. 152-3

"... this is a very handy in-depth guide to a remarkable group of plants… A fascinating read from a noted expert in the field."
Keith McCosh, Land for Wildlife South East Queensland, October 2011, p. 13

"... I think this is a great publication. The technical information included in the chapters is very clear and easy to read. For those wanting to understand and learn more about these interesting plants, this book is a must. It will be one of the first books I pack on my next holiday.”
Peter Rogers, Growing Australian, June 2011, p.18-19

"...I am delighted to see this book, a comprehensive but utterly accessible compendium of knowledge about Australian mistletoes, as well as their context in the wider mistletoe world... I must also make mention of some particularly fine photos which enrich virtually every page. Another enthusiastic recommendation."
Ian Fraser, http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/BookReviews/No15.pdf, June 2011

"Often seen as a negative in the environment the author sets the record straight. The facts, as known, are presented logically with good use of headings and chapters. The language is simple and the text is supported by numerous photographs and beautiful illustrations by Robyn Hulley. It is an easy and informative read and with the inclusion of the field guide, should appeal to a range of people working in land management, agriculture and anyone who just has an interest in the Australian landscape. Mistletoe is a native plant that has a unique 'Australian' beauty. The future of mistletoe as friend or foe within the environment will depend upon our understanding and management. Mistletoes of Southern Australia by David Watson provides an excellent beginning towards acquiring that understanding."
Leigh Tuck, Australian Native Plants Society Canberra Region Journal 2011

"This book is excellent for those who are interested in identifying mistletoes in southern Australia, and placing them in a background of evolution, migration, interaction and management."
Bryan Barlow, Australasian Plant Conservation, Vol 19 No 4, March-May 2011

"Most of us have heard of mistletoes and have a vague idea of them as parasitic plants. However, you are probably unaware of the diversity and importance of these fascinating plants in the ecology of the Australian bush. David has spent a lifetime studying mistletoes and has teamed with artist Robyn Hulley to produce this lavishly illustrated book...l, for one, am grateful the book has identified the plant I photographed in the NSW outback last year as pale-leaf mistletoe (Amyema maidenii)."
Angus Stewart, Gardening Australia, May 2011


ePDF | February 2011
ISBN: 9780643100831
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • First book on the natural history of Australian mistletoes
  • First 'field guide' to mistletoes worldwide
  • Covers every mistletoe species occurring in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and the southern half of Western Australia
  • Thorough and up-to-date summary of current knowledge about the biology, ecology and management of these plants
  • Only time many of these species have been depicted in colour
  • Thorough treatment of the cultural significance of these plants in Australia
  • Illustrated by Robyn Hulley


Species accounts:
Cultural significance
Species list


David M Watson is an ecologist with a long-standing interest in mistletoes. In addition to the ecology of parasitic plants, his research focuses on developing solutions to habitat fragmentation and managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. He lives on a rural property near Albury with his wife, three sons and a variety of other animals.