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Post by tabby »

I’ve known of mistletoe as far back as I can remember but primarily as a mere sprig of greenery to hang over the doorway at Christmas with little or no thought as to the actual plant source. Periodically an actual fresh piece would appear from the plant nursery but most often it took the form of a plastic ornament with little bells & ribbons attached to the stiff leaves & berries but it was hung with the same enthusiasm as all of the other ornaments and home decorations. Such is modern life!

That’s how it stood until last year in mid winter when I saw some on one of my walks. I was gazing up at the stark gray branches of a stand of oaks and saw a cluster of green leaves. Could it be? Our own mistletoe?? Yes, and easily amused as I am, I felt a slight thrill that finally a bird with bowel problems had sat on one of our oak tree branches and deposited mistletoe seeds! Yay! It thrived through the winter and early spring but then I lost sight of it through the heavy leaves of the oak’s spring and summer foliage. Once the oak leaves fell again this fall, there was the mistletoe, thriving and in an ever larger cluster. It’s out of the question to harvest any because it’s simply too far up the tree, even a daredevil 12 year old boy would hesitate at the height. It’s safer to leave it where it is and let any kissing or romantics take place underneath.

I found this article on mistletoe and it seemed a good source plus an interesting article ~~~~> Mistletoe: The Evolution of a Christmas Tradition | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine

I’m hoping its seeds will attract more birds and thus result in even more patches of it in the area. It’s a parasitic plant but it doesn’t harm the host tree. Isn’t there another word other than parasite that is used for things like that? To me, a parasite is something that sucks the life out of its host so does the name parasite apply to something that steals nutrients from a host but doesn’t harm its health? There’s bound to be a better word!
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Post by Snooz »

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Bryn Mawr
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Post by Bryn Mawr »

SnoozeAgain;1379651 wrote: Symbiote?

To be a symbiote it would need to be required by the host for survival - at the very least it would have to actively benefit the host and I do not believe that mistletoe does so.

To be effective the mistletoe should be cut from an Oak bough at winter solstice with a bronze sickle - best to cut your own because the commercial outfits don't prepare it correctly :-)
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Post by chonsigirl »

How cool to see it outside in the trees.

A bronze sickle! :)

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