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: