Korthalsella salicornioides


Korthalsella: after Korthals, botanist
salicornioides: like Salicornia (glasswort)

Common Name(s)

Dwarf mistletoe

Current Conservation Status

2018 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2009 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - Sp
2009 - EF


Korthalsella salicornioides (A.Cunn.) Tiegh.



Brief Description

Dense mass of green to reddish-yellow beaded succulent stems to 10cm long growing on twigs of another plant (mainly manuka and kanuka). Leaves (stems) 3-10mm long by 1-3mm wide, round. Flowers tiny, fruit small, yellowish.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Viscum salicornioides A.Cunn.


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands. From Te Paki south - easily overlooked.


Coastal to upper montane and subalpine (0-1300 m a.s.l.). A parasite found in forest and shrublands. Most commonly found parasitic on Leptospermum scoparium J.R.Forst. et G.Forst. (kahikatoa/manuka) and members of the Kunzea ericoides (A.Rich.) Joy Thomps. (Rawiri/Titiri/Kanuka) complex.


Hemiparasitic, succulent, much branched, green, yellow-green, red-green to orange-green plant parasitising exposed branches and branchlets of host. Haustoria internal, dark green, encircling stele of host. Plants 30-100 x 10-450 mm, erupting from host bark, individual aerial structures lasting from 1-4 years before dehiscing and resprouting. Branches arising at narrow angles; Internodes terete, succulent to subsucculent, 3-10 x 1-3 mm, narrowed to a finely constricted node. Collar truncate, up to 0.5 mm long, sheathing at nodes. Flowers scarcely differentiated from barren stems, 3-10 x 1 mm. Fruit 1.5 mm long, ovoid to globular, dispersed by birds or ejected under hydraulic pressure

Similar Taxa

None - the two other species of Korthasella Tiegh. endemic to New Zealand have flattened internodes are fewer branches arising at wider angles.


October - March


October - May

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


An apparently naturally uncommon and biologically sparse species which can on occasion be locally abundant, but is more usually known from large parts of its likely range by only spot or scattered occurrences. In some parts of its range it is seriously at risk due to the felling of its main host species (Leptospermum and Kunzea) for fire wood and also to clear land for farming or pine plantations.

Chromosome No.

2n = 28

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Fleshy berries are dispersed by ballistic projection, attachment and possibly frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commericially available


The most host specific of the three New Zealand species of the genus, the favoured host is Leptospermum scoparium followed by Kunzea ericoides s.l. However Sophora chathamica Cockayne, Myrsine australis (A.Rich.) Allan, Dracophyllum acerosum Bergg., Melicope simplex A.Cunn. and Gaultheria antipoda G.Forst. are sometimes also parasitised.

References and further reading

Cameron, E.K. 2001. Korthalsella salicornioides discovered close to Auckland city. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 56: 53-54

Nickrent, D.L.; Malécot, V.; Vidal-Russell, R.; Der, J.P. 2010: A revised classification of Santalales. Taxon 59: 538-558.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 31 May 2015