Red mistletoe Peraxilla tetrapetala

Key Features

  • Similar to scarlet mistletoe, but plants do not attain such a large size (to 2 m across), the opposite leaves are smaller (1-5 cm long), flowers are produced singly and the dull green fruits are urn-shaped.
  • The leaves often have small blisters, which do not occur on scarlet mistletoe.
  • Red mistletoe mainly occurs on black (Fuscospora solandri) or mountain beech (Fuscospora cliffortioides) or Quintinia serrata, pohutukawa and puriri in the far north.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Throughout New Zealand.
  • Lowland to montane forest, chiefly beech forest in the South Island.


  • Possum browse.
  • Decline of birds (chiefly bellbird and tui) associated with pollination and dispersal.
  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Fungal disease.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Enhance habitat for bellbirds and tui (e.g. by planting nectar-producing species such as flax and kowhai).
  • Possum control by poisoning or trapping, caging plants or banding host trees.
  • Ensure that forest owners are aware of potential habitats and can recognise the species.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually.
  • Report new locations to DOC, NZPCN.

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • References
    • Dopson et al. (1999). The conservation requirements of New Zealand’s nationally threatened vascular plants. Threatened Species Occasional Publication 13. Department of Conservation, Wellington.
    • Poole & Adams (1994). Trees and shrubs of New Zealand. Maanaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.