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Saturday, December 1, 2012

All about mistletoe

this is what most of us think of as mistletoe

Mistletoe has been associated with peace and love for eons. Even two hundred years before the birth of Christ, mistletoe was used by Druids in the celebration of the winter season. They believed that  mistletoewas magical.   It was thought to have healing powers, which could cure everything, ranging from female infertility to poison ingestion. Even enemies would stop fighting and declare a temporary ceasefire whenever they came upon some mistletoe.

More facts about mistletoe:

Mistletoe History
The history and origin of the Christmas mistletoe can be traced back to the ancient Scandinavian custom and a Norse myth. The Scandinavian people also believed mistletoe to be a plant of peace, even if enemies happened to pass beneath any mistletoe, they had to lay down their arms and call truce until at least until the next day.

Kissing Under the Mistletoe
The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is said to be associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia.  Mistletoe was used in primitive marriage rites, and believed to have the power to confer fertility. Another belief was that mistletoe possessed 'life-giving' powers.

Mistletoe Plant
Mistletoe is a hemi parasite (partial parasite). It grows either on the branches or on the trunk of a tree. Being a parasite, it penetrates its roots into the host tree and consumes all its nutrients. However, mistletoe can also grow individually and produce its own food with the help of photosynthesis. But, it is usually found growing on trees as a parasitic plant. There are basically the following two types of mistletoe:

American Mistletoe
The American mistletoe, scientifically known as Phoradendron flavescens, is native to North America. It is found growing on trees from New Jersey to Florida and is the mistletoe species that is mainly associated with the kissing tradition of Christmas.

European Mistletoe
The European mistletoe, Viscum album, is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries. It is frequently seen growing on apple trees and rarely on oak.

The custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas time dates back to the time of the Druids. The concept of kissing under the mistletoe is said to be a variation of the kissing ball tradition of the 18th century.

I hope no one feels offended by knowing that many Christmas traditions are for fun and have nothing to do with the birth of Christ.

I found this information at


  1. Great article about Mistletoe traditions, Laura. I actually had some mistletoe growing last year on one of my evergreen trees. I removed it because I knew it would be feeding off of the tree and I wanted the tree to remain healthy. But I didn't know most of the other items you shared in this article. Learned a lot. :-)

  2. Oh this was interesting ... I didn't know that it was a partial parasite. Thank you!