European mistletoe (Viscum album
) as well as American mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum
) are both evergreen parasitic perennials with white or translucent berries, that grow on the trunks and branches of deciduous trees.
They are common holiday symbols sold frequently during the winter holiday season.
Both mistletoe species are toxic to horses. P. serotinum
contains phoratoxins which are toxalbumins that cause digestive upset. V. album
contain viscotoxins, which are similar in structure and effect to the phoratoxin toxalbumins found in P. serotinum
. V. album
is more toxic then P. serotinum
and ingestion of all parts other than the berries can result in toxicity of the liver, central nervous system, and kidney.