Mistletoe

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? There is a tradition that if you are standing under the mistletoe, your true love will give you a kiss. Even if the person turns out not to be your true love, receiving a nice Christmas kiss is a wonderful thing. Giving the kiss is good too. If you hang mistletoe, here are a few facts you should know.


Mistletoe is highly toxic to people. Birds and some animals eat the berries and leaves for a high-protein meal and are not affected the way we are.

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant. It stays green during the winter when other plants go into a dormant stage.

The proper etiquette for kissing beneath the mistletoe is for the gentleman to reach up to the sprig of mistletoe and pluck one berry before he kisses the woman. When the berries are gone it is bad luck to kiss beneath that sprig so find a new one.

Mistletoe is believed to have medicinal properties. However if you are tempted to try it, remember how toxic it is. Some physicians are experimenting with treatments for various ailments using this plant. Just remember, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME.

There are 1300 species of mistletoe in the world. Only two are found in the United States. The American mistletoe is most associated with kissing. Dwarf mistletoe is also found here.

Twenty species of mistletoe are endangered. If you want to pick some fresh, make sure you know which kind you are getting.

Mistletoe is named because of the way it is distributed by birds. The name means "dung on a twig".

Mistletoe is a mostly parasitic plant. It takes root where birds have dropped seeds. It germinates into the roots or branches of the nearest tree and leeches nutrients from the tree to supplement its own photosynthesis. Healthy trees are not usually adversely affected.

Dwarf mistletoe seeds explode, shooting seeds up to 50 feet. It doesn't rely on birds to carry seeds.

If you would like to grow mistletoe, take several seeds and squeeze the pulp onto a tree branch. If the birds don't eat them, they will easily take root.

Mistletoe has no odor. If you see a mistletoe scented candle, it is a fraud.

From The Pickwick Papers
"From the centre of the ceiling of this kitchen, old Wardle had just suspended with his own hands
a huge branch of mistletoe, and this same branch of mistletoe instantaneously gave rise to a
scene of general and most delightful struggling and confusion; in the midst of which,
Mr. Pickwick, with a gallantry that would have done honour to a descendant of
Lady Tollimglower herself, took the old lady by the hand, led her beneath the
mystic branch, and saluted her in all courtesy and decorum."


                                                                                    by Charles Dickens:



Comments

  1. I was so embarrassed the first time a girl kissed me under the mistletoe. I used to avoid that branch like the plague.

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  2. When I lived in AZ the children went out and sold it door to door. It thrives in the desert and when the robins return to the states they get smashed on the fermented berries, making it funny to watch them land.

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  3. Thanks for the pic of real mistletoe( the Christmas kind). It doesn't grow where I am .I had never seen it before.

    Occasionally the dwarf mistltoe can be seen in a spruce. The distorted clumps of spruce branches , growing in a ball shape, are a sign that the tree is infected. The plant itself is almost microscopic. It won't be long and the tree will be dead.
    On the praries ,we hoped that there would be no forest fires because smoke carrying D.M.spores would quickly infect a whole forest.

    If there is one in your area , get it cut down and buried...or you will lose forests.

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  4. Thank you all for commenting. John, I'll bet you now look for the mistletoe when you enter the room. Out on the Prairie, I guess I did not think about fermented berries. There probably is not much protein in them. Thepowmill, that is interesting about the forest fires. I suppose it would make a difference to have tiny fire mistles spreading the fire.

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  5. Very interesting, I had no idea there were so many

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  6. I had no idea either. It is such fun to find out these things. Thank you for commenting.

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