What to Know About Mistletoe

The expression; “out of sight, out of mind” could easily apply to mistletoe, since it thrives in the tops of the dense tree canopies of its host. Therefore, it’s rarely seen for much of the year. But in the fall after the trees lose their leaves, this shrubby evergreen can be easily observed growing on the upper tree branches. Here in the states, our ritual stems from European mistletoe (Viscum album), which resembles American mistletoe. In Norse mythology, a Norse goddess declared mistletoe sacred to symbolize love. This led to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe.

In the 18th century, mistletoe was hung during holiday festivals and men would steal kisses from women under it. One berry was removed for every kiss received. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses. Yet beyond this timeless tradition, I suspect most of us take for granted the backstory to this fascinating and very real plant...

This article was written by Joe Lamp'l and first appeared on Growing a Greener World