Mistletoe feared extinct found on Little Cayman

| 06/06/2018 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dendropemon caymanensis (Photo courtesy of Stuart Mailer)

(CNS): An extremely rare endemic mistletoe species, which had not been seen since 1991 and was feared extinct, has been found on Little Cayman, paving the way for the Department of Environment to undertake a thorough survey of the plant for its future protection. The Terrestrial Research Unit at the DoE has been looking for this plant for many years, and according to a report in the latest edition of the DoE’s magazine, Flicker, the mysterious mistletoe species, Dendropemon caymanensis, was finally found quite by chance. 

Stuart Mailer, the environmental programmes manager for the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, was on an altogether different mission in Little Cayman in January of this year, inspecting a network of trails that have recently been developed by a landowner on a large forested property on the island.

Exploring what he said was a remote forest home to several rare plants and one of the places where the mistletoe was last seen, he spotted many “amazing” plants and trees. But on higher ground, where the trees gave way to shrubs, he encountered several headache bushes, the primary host for the elusive Dendropemon.

According to Mailer, after some time, some scrambling around and careful concentration, he eventually spotted what he thought could be the elusive mistletoe, and after he and others in the party looked more closely, they were all reasonably convinced it was the mistletoe, even more so when they found more of the parasitic plant, which he was able to photograph close up for the record.

Comparisons of Mailer’s pictures with George R. Proctor’s description of the various mistletoe species recorded in Cayman in his seminal work about local plants, based on the shape of the leaves and the berries, it seemed that Mailer had rediscovered the rare mistletoe.

Following his discovery, he sent his photos to the DoE, which passed them on to other international experts, who confirmed the identification. The TRU then conducted an initial search and identified another seven  locations in the area where the plant was growing. As a result, a new survey will soon be underway to ensure the plant is preserved and to help researchers understand more about this plant.

Find the current and back issues of Flicker on the DOE website

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    too many treasure hunters over there these days….?secretly doing their quests….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Any kissing under it?? Merry Christmas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i grew up in little, but hate the attitudes of the ex pats over there nowadays……but nice to see nature at its best…

  4. Anonymous says:

    For such small islands it seems to be alot of large rarities. This is paradise indeed mate, anyone who cant see it is bollocks.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do not worry people, forget the Mistletoe, Caymanians themselves will soon be extinct in this good ole Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      the mistletoe has been there 100’s of thousands of years, Caymanians only a few hundred.

      And it didn’t take them long to hunt the Caiman’s, that the islands were named for, to extinction either.

      You reap what you sow

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lets replace it with Cannabis, eventually no one will fear that the Mistletoe is gone.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Long thought to be extinct a Caymanian was found walking in the West Bay area. He was immediately deemed unemployable so he went fishing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    nearly extinct mistletoe or Dart/Sandals Resort, – easy one that, been missing for 17 yrs anyway…

  9. Anonymous says:

    The DOE had nothing to do with this and quite frankly, I would suggest that the mistletoe managed without them before.

  10. DART says:

    That’s it, get the bulldozers out!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Came here to say the same thing. Get rid of it and make a nice place for people to get drunk.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is good news! Little Cayman might still have a chance but with the unbridled development and approvals thereof in Grand Cayman, all types of flora and fauna will soon be extinct!

    • Anonymous says:

      We need to save and preserve Maiden Plum and Cow Itch, they appear to be nearly extinct and we may need them in the future for defence purposes. I fail to see how Misletoe will help us, if you know what that will do for us please let us know.

      • anon says:

        Where is the LOL button when you need it? 🙂

      • Anonymous says:

        Hopefully it will cure stupidity.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ask not what your country ( local mistletoe) can do for you, but what you csn do to protect your country and environment. I sincerely hope all the stupid comments so frequently made on this forum is coming from one person. Hopefully there is only one of you.

      • Diogenes says:

        Maybe the Mistletoe is how all of our government “kissed and made up” after years of fighting like animals, they all took a trip to Little Cayman, and thats when the magic began


      • annonymous says:

        Anonymous, the good Book says that the herbs are given to us for our healing. That includes maiden plum and cow itch l…..you are probably too ignorant of the facts to know that. both plants are used medicinally..

        • Anonymous says:

          I think it is important for us to protect our flora and fauna. A bit late but thanks to Dart Co. I think they made us realise that what we were knocking down and destroying when we were clearing our properties could actually be used in our landscaping. Give a person credit where they deserve it. However, that is not to say that the same thing needs to be done for the indigenous Caymanians who in the next 40 – 50 years will be close to extinction, if it takes that long.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’ve read 50 Shades Of Grey and can’t recall seeing that passage anywhere.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s a canary in the coal mine my friend.

  12. Anonymous says:


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