Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Romance of Mistletoe

Ah, mistletoe, the kiss-inspiring greens of the season. What are you and how do you grow?

"Mistletoe plants grow on a wide range of host trees, and commonly reduce their growth and can kill them with heavy infestation. Viscum album can parasitise more than 200 tree and shrub species. All mistletoes are hemi-parasites, bearing evergreen leaves that do some photosynthesis, and using the host mainly for water and mineral nutrients. Mistletoe first sprouts from bird feces on the trunk of the tree and in its early stages of life it takes nutrients from this source."

Wow. Who knew?


  1. new information! I see it all over trees around the delta here. I wonder, who harvests this stuff?

  2. WOW is right. I never knew that and it makes me look at mistletoe in a whole new light. It is sort of like the weed that sprouts from the tiniest crack in the sidewalk. Talk about humble beginnings!!

  3. I knew.

    I don't have any growing in my woods, but about 50 miles south of there I have found it in some oaks.

  4. Well that takes a bit of the charm out of the plant. Here I always felt sorry for them being plucked purely for Christmas pleasure but now I see it is helpful to their hosts. A win/win.

  5. Once (and only once) I was selected to shoot the mistletoe. No one bothered to tell me how hard the shotgun would kick. I put the stock squarely on my shoulder and took aim. I landed on my rear end and my shoulder was sore for a week, but I hit the mistletoe!

    I had no idea it sprouted from bird poop!

  6. I knew! As kids we would shoot it out of a tree at Christmas time and then sell sprigs of it to the neighbors. I think it's my favorite parasite.