Data_Sheet_1_Advances on the Visualization of the Internal Structures of the European Mistletoe: 3D Reconstruction Using Microtomography.PDF
The European mistletoe (Viscum album) is a dioecious epiphytic evergreen hemiparasite that develops an extensive endophyte enabling the absorption of water and mineral salts from the host tree, whereas the exophytic leaves are photosynthetically active. The attachment mode and host penetration are well studied, but little information is available about the effects of mistletoe age and sex on haustorium-host interactions. We harvested 130 plants of Viscum album ssp. album growing on host branches of Aesculus flava for morphological and anatomical investigations. Morphometric analyses of the mistletoe and the (hypertrophied) host interaction site were correlated with mistletoe age and sex. We recorded the morphology of the endophytic systems of various ages by using X-ray microtomography scans and corresponding stereomicroscopic images. For detailed anatomical studies, we examined thin stained sections of the mistletoe-host interface by light microscopy. The diameter and length of the branch hypertrophy showed a positive linear correlation with the age of the mistletoe. Correlations with their sex were only found for ratios between host branch and hypertrophy size. A female bias of about 76% was found. In a 4-year-old mistletoe, several small, almost equally sized sinkers and the connected cortical strands extend over more than 5 cm within the host branch. In older mistletoes, one main sinker was predominant and occupied an increasingly large proportion of the stem cross-section. Bands of vessels ran along the axis of the wedge-shaped haustoria and sinkers and bent sideways toward the mistletoe-host interface. At the interface, the vascular elements of the host wood changed their direction and formed vortices near the haustorium.