Mistletoe (Viscum album)


[ENG] Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Spread: Mistletoe can be commonly found in Central and Northern Europe. Birds spread the seeds through eating the white mistletoe berries.

Description: Mistletoe is half-parasite, which cultivates itself on a wide variety of tree branches. It feeds on the nutrients provided by the tree. Most commonly mistletoe can be found in birch, maple, apple tree, wound, rowan and poplar. Mistletoe can grow up a meter in diameter, the leaves are evergreen. The Mistletoe seeds are covered with a type of sticky mucus, which helps it stick to the tree branches.

General: In various cultures the toxic mistletoe has been linked to mysticism and myth. The plant has also been called upon to protect people from evil spirits, which is why it was hung on the walls for protection. In the Asterix comic book series mistletoe was used by the village druid Akvavitix for brewing a magic potion. In ancient times druids and healers used mistletoe for promoting fertility and bringing good luck. The kiss under the mistletoe tradition was born in England in the 19th century. In Germany, mistletoe is kept in high regard for its medicinal properties. In England mistletoe is used as a Christmas decoration.

In the pictures:

A - Mistletoe on tree branch (picture: Tom Ahlström)

B - Mistletoe on tree branch (picture: Tom Ahlström)