Phoradendron macrophyllum
(P. tomentosum macrophyllum)

Great Purple Hairstreak

Atlides halesus

watercolor © by Michael Plagens

Illustration based on specimens found at Catalina State Park, Pima Co., Arizona. 27 March 1994.

PARASITIC SHRUB: Grows from the branches of mostly the larger deciduous trees such as cottonwood, ash, walnut, and hackberry. Draws water, minerals, and nitrogen nutrients from the host, but carries on its own photosynthesis. There has been a great variety of names applied to these plants and for sure the taxonomy is still being sorted out by specialists and others.

LEAVES: Thick, leathery, velvety leaves are typically whorled; three to a node.

FRUIT: White berries occur in terminal spikes.

FLOWERS: small and inconspicuous but fragrant.


The larva of a weevil (Curculionidae) may be found boring into the fleshy stems. The adult weevil is black with numerous fine white hairs. Hollowed out mistletoe branches often die or break off.

Santalaceae -- Sandlewood Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 16 Apr. 2000,
updated 31 Jan. 2022.