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Mistletoe Lore

If you steal a kiss under the mistletoe this season, you might like to know a bit more about its history.

This parasitic plant was believed to have magical powers since it seemed to mysteriously appear in tree canopies and grow without roots.   What original observers did not realize is fruit-eating birds deposited seeds in the trees.  Once the seeds sprouted they formed a parasitic relationship with the tree. 

Some cultures believed mistletoe could cure diseases, bestow fertility, and protect homes from ghosts.  The Druids used branches of mistletoe to welcome in the New Year and thus the plant became associated with Christmas.

Kissing under the mistletoe started in England in the 19th century. According to mistletoe etiquette, a man should remove a berry when he kisses a woman.  And when the last berry is gone, the kissing is over.

And be sure to hang your mistletoe high or opt for the artificial sprigs as the berries are poisonous to people and pets.

A bit more information:  You may be wondering how they retrieve the mistletoe from high in the tree tops.  It’s with a shotgun.  Mistletoe hunting has been a common practice in southeast United States for many years.  Hunters take aim and shoot.  Unfortunately some of the harvest is blown to pieces making this a challenging crop to harvest.


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