Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Lore--Day 14

Mistletoe growing in tree (sorry for the blurry photo!)


Mistletoe is probably one of the most popular types of greenery during the holiday season.  Everyone is always looking for the mistletoe so that they can steal a kiss!

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant (actually hemi-parasitic) that grows high in trees.  About the only way to get it down is to fetch the old shotgun and shoot it down!  If you look closely at the mistletoe that you can buy in stores, you will often see where some of the leaves have been torn by buckshot. Since mistletoe is so difficult to obtain, many folks just use fake mistletoe.
Fake mistletoe
Up until about 10 years ago, I would have SWORN that I had never seen mistletoe growing in a tree. The problem was, I just didn't know what I was looking for! However, once someone pointed it out to me, it is now very hard to miss when I am driving around where there are lots of trees.  Going south on 220 between Roanoke and Martinsville, you can see lots of mistletoe growing in the trees this time of year.  I really wanted to get down that way and take some photos, but I have just not had the time.

At Christmas gatherings in the 19th century, folks would have a ball of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.  If a couple smooched under the mistletoe, they were required to pluck one of the waxy white berries from the plant.  Once all of the berries were gone, the kissing was supposed to stop.  I am sure that over the years, people have decided to ignore this tradition because the berries do tend to drop off as the plant is handled. Since most people do not gather their own mistletoe, it might be days or weeks old by the time it is purchased and most of the berries have long since fallen off.

Do you have mistletoe in your home?


  1. So cool....and you know there is some druid/celtic tradition that states if the mistletoe hits the ground after being shot from the tree it's bad luck.

  2. I have read that after the holidays you should never just throw away the mistletoe, but it should always be burned or you will never kiss anyone again! EEK!


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