Mistletoe

Name: Mistletoe

Scientific name: Viscum album

Category: Flowers

Nature Stars: 80

What are nature stars?

About: Mistletoe grows on trees - it has no roots - and gets most of it food from its host tree.  It especially likes apple, lime, Ash and Hawthorn trees. Mistletoe berries are a favourite of birds such as Blackcaps; they wipe their bills on the tree to help remove the sticky dregs, accidentally spreading the seeds and making it possible for a new plant to take root.

How to identify: Mistletoe is an evergreen but is best seen during the winter months (November to February) when great balls of it hang from the branches bare trees. Look for the white sticky berries (which poisonous to humans) and the branching stems with small, oval leaves.

Where: Largely grows in central and southern England

Fantastic fact: One of our most practised Christmas traditions - kissing under the Mistletoe - comes from Victorian times when a boy could win a kiss from a girl for each Mistletoe berry he picked from his bunch.

Photograph credit: Zsuzsanna Bird


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