Mistletoe has long been a "magical" plant growing as it does hemiparasitically upon other trees and staying so obviously green through the winter upon its deciduous host. This is the stuff of Norse mythology (Baldur again), and another source of winter greenery. Clearly the usual kissing under the mistletoe is a pretty pagan practice, as is the custom observed by some of removing a berry and eating it until none are left and then the magic is gone. Although this usually involves the european species, Viscum album, which seems to be more toxic than the North American species, the rumor that eating the berries is a dangerous activity seems over blown. Lastly, collecting mistletoe, and the loss of old apple orchards (a favorite host) has people, particularly Druids, worried about its conservation in the UK. Wish it could be grown on one of my oaks, but my estate is a tad too far north.
Had the draft of this brief post done a day or two ago, and can you believe a science blogger with no spine at all (he wishes) and with no pretences of any botanical leanings posts a similar article, and when he should have been grading exams like yours truly, but a HT to PZ anyways.
1 day ago in The Phytophactor