Today was another day of discovery for me. We went walking in Sabino Canyon (Coronado National Forest) and I took some photos of desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) growing on palo verde trees to compare with the mistletoe growing on our neighboring mesquite trees. Desert or mesquite mistletoe is parasitic and grows most frequently on leguminous trees such as mesquite, palo verde, ironwood and acacia. Mistletoe depends on its host for water and mineral nutrients. However, because mistletoe obtains at least part of its sugars and other nutrients from photosynthesis, it is considered a hemiparasite (as opposed to a holoparasite, which depends on its host for all nourishment).
I also took some photos of some distant phainopepla (silky flycatcher). When I looked up phainopepla on the Internet, I discovered that they rely on the desert mistletoe berries as their main source of winter food, which accounts for their prevalence on our walk and also in our neighborhood.
(Once again, fuzzy shots with a 55 mm lens. Click for enlargements.)
Mistletoe on mesquite (Indian Ridge, Tucson)
Mistletoe on palo verde (Sabino Canyon near Tucson)
Phainopepla (Sabino Canyon near Tucson)