Mistletoe Memories

Mistletoe has been a part of my family’s Christmas holiday tradition for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, you could go to the big Farmers markets and get wreaths, mistletoe sprigs, and all sorts of live-cut greenery. 

Published December 8, 2014 3:25 AM
3 min read

0:00

Mistletoe-berries-thMistletoe has been a part of my family’s Christmas holiday tradition for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, you could go to the big Farmers markets and get wreaths, mistletoe sprigs, and all sorts of live-cut greenery. 

By Bill Lawyer

berriesMistletoe has been a part of my family’s Christmas holiday tradition for as long as I can remember. Growing up in the Pennsylvania Dutch country, you could go to the big Farmers markets and get wreaths, mistletoe sprigs, and all sorts of live-cut greenery.  

Mistletoe came with white berries, and cuttings of holly came with red berries – to cheer up the dismal days of winter.  

But the main thing that stuck in my childhood memory was putting up mistletoe on the doorways of our house. In my younger days, when kissing under the mistletoe meant all my grownup female relatives, it was not something I looked forward to.

But as I entered my teen-age years, mistletoe became much more of a positive ice-breaking tool at parties and school dances.

All this time, I never really had any clear idea as to where people got all this mistletoe.  Some people even used artificial mistletoe. At that time, truth be told, it didn’t really matter – it was easy to buy and put to work.

It wasn’t until many years later, and while on a fall trip to France, that I actually saw mistletoe growing in the wild. We were driving along from the Loire Valley to the Dordogne, and then back north through the “massif central” toward Champagne, and there it was, all along the way — leaves shining brightly green, growing in nooks and crannies between the trunk and branches of the otherwise bare trees.  

We stayed one night at a B&B in the Morvan area, outside the pilgrimage town of Vézelay. When I went out for a walk in the morning, I came to a spot where the Yonne River and canal come together. All the trees along the river were festooned with mistletoe bushes. Actually, as I learned from the hotel manager, the mistletoe plants are parasites of the trees on which they grow.

mistletoe-headlineIt’s ironic that a parasitic plant became the symbol of love, energy, and fertility – going back to the days of the Druids.   

When I got home I started doing some research and learned that, according to various reliable sources, the American mistletoe grows mainly in the south, but it has been seen growing as far north as southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey. Another genus, the “dwarf” species, grows in the western part of the country.  

I learned in greater depth how the bushes can take root from the seeds in droppings of birds that feed on the berries, and that mistletoe does produce food through photosynthesis. So it is not a complete parasite.  

While foresters aren’t wild about mistletoe, it would be costly and counter-productive to try to cut out all the plants growing through the forest.

(So maybe some smart foresters came up with the idea that people would actually pay to carefully harvest some of the plants, then sell them to all of us city-folk so we can keep carrying out our historic kissing rituals.)  
There’s another, more ecological reason for not eliminating out all those cute little gr

een-leafed, berry sprouting sprigs. Rob Bennetts, a USGS research scientist who has studied mistletoe plants extensively, points out that, “A number of animals couldn’t survive without mistletoe, including some birds, butterflies, and insects.” He adds, “Mistletoe should be viewed as a natural component of healthy forest ecosystems, of which it has been a part for thousands, if not millions of years.”

Let’s all go out and get as much mileage out of mistletoe as we can. Tis the season to by jolly, after all.

 

 

Filed Under:
Subscribe and get freshly baked articles. Join the community!
Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

rajbet app

rajbet india

lottoland asia

lottoland india

dafabet login

dafabet app

4rabet login

khelo24bet login

rummy gold

rummy glee

teen patti

teen patti gold

teen patti joy

teen patti master

rummy modern

andar bahar

dafabet

bonus new member

gullybet

IPLWin

IPLWin

tk88

tk88

thienhabet

thienhabet

Dbbet

Nagad88

Babu88

Six6s

Bhaggo

Elonbet

yono rummy

jeetbuzz

iplwin

yono rummy

rummy deity

rummy app

betvisa

lotus365

hi88

8day

97win

n88

red88

king88

j88

i9bet

good88

nohu78

99ok

bet168

betvisa

satta king

satta matta matka