2012 How to see Mistletoe

Evergreen, white berried mistletoe is a plant of deep winter. Tucked away throughout the spring and summer high up in the foliage of old broadleaf trees, it seems to visibly re-emerge from the branches as autumn leaves turn and fall. Until spring its utterly round balls of yellowy-green are unmistakable among stark winter branches, hanging vivid, rotund, in silhouette against pale icy skies. Parasitic mistletoe has no roots of its own, it is a plant of the air and it must not touch the earth lest its magic be lost. Although mistletoe and oak are mythically entwined together, native British mistletoe, Viscum album, is seen in symbiosis with many different host trees, often Apple or Lime. If you find one plant with berries, there must be others nearby because Mistletoe is dioecious, like Holly and Yew, having separate male and female plants, needing both for pollination. Mistletoe grows slowly in colonies, in clusters, spreading over many years from one tall mature deciduous tree to the next. So that in time every tree in a spinney or copse or orchard will be adorned with its seasonal baubles.

Jean Dark
October 2010

 Walks with Mistletoe – blog post

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