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Mistletoe
shopping: one variety
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per 1/4 Pound
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$4.00 
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$10.00 
Viscum album

mistletoe

plant overview
the kissing herb

Mistletoe is a member of the sandalwood family that occurs naturally throughout Europe and some parts of Asia. This shrubby plant is semi-parasitic, existing within the stems and branches of neighboring trees with a preference toward oak, apple, elm and poplar. It is “semi” parasitic in the sense that the plant is also capable of manufacturing its own energy via photosynthesis. Also known as European Mistletoe, this is the “Christmas herb” that compels people to kiss when standing underneath it, a tradition that relates to the gift of mistletoe given to the Goddess of Love.

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Mistletoe
01.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on mistletoe

description
Viscum album, a member of the Santalaceae family. It is a hemi-parasitic shrub (meaning it can obtain some nourishment from its host but it can also photosynthesize and potentially live dependently). As such it grows on the stems of other trees. It has stems that are 30–100 centimeters (12–39 inches) in length with dichotomous branching. Its yellowish-green leaves grow in opposite pairs, strap-shaped, entire, leathery textured, 2–8 centimeters long and 0.8–2.5 centimeters wide.

This species is dioecious and the inconspicuous yellowish-green flowers are insect-pollinated. They are just 2–3 millimeters in diameter.

This plant's fruit is a white or yellow berry containing one (very rarely several) seed embedded in the very sticky, glutinous fruit pulp. It is commonly found in the crowns of broad-leaved trees, particularly apple, lime, hawthorn and poplar.

common names & nomenclature
The species name is from albus the Latin adjective "white" presumably referencing the berry's color.

The French common name Herbe de la Croix came about due to an old legend. Early Christians believed mistletoe was a freestanding tree during Jesus's time and that its wood was used to fashion the cross. God therefore punished the plant for its role in the crucifixion by turning it into a parasite. This story gave mistletoe its Latin name, lignum crucis, meaning "wood of the cross", and also eventually its French name herbe de la croix.

Also known as:
Mistletoe, European mistletoe, common mistletoe, Herbe de la Croix


02.
Where in the World
habitat and range for mistletoe

Viscum album is native to Europe and western and southern Asia.

03.
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting mistletoe

climate
Grows on the branches of many trees in dappled-shade forests, mistletoe especially favors poplars, apples, chestnut and birch. Not usually found on conifers.

growing
To grow mistletoe, you will need to obtain fresh berries. Squish them down onto the wood on the underside of a branch of another suitable tree so that the juice makes the seed stick. This tree will act as host to the mistletoe. Some people will go so far as to make notches in the wood for this purpose. A threadlike root will form in a few days and pierce the wood, eventually finding its way into the tree itself. You should select a large, healthy tree and a branch that will get plenty of its own sunlight. The mistletoe will take up to two years to mature.

harvesting
Mistletoe berries can be harvested in autumn. The plant itself should be harvested in the winter and hung to dry.

preserving
Store dried mistletoe leaf in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

04.
The Rest of the Story
mistletoe history, folklore, literature & more

Mistletoe is best known as the plant under which people kiss at Christmas, a custom with an ironically gruesome origin. One scientific authority calls it "gentle...and nontoxic." Others call it "poisonous," and insist "all parts of the plant should be regarded as toxic." The truth lies somewhere in between.

We owe the herb's association with kissing to Norse mythology. Balder, god of peace, was slain by an arrow made of mistletoe. When his parents, god-king Odin and goddess-queen Frigga, restored him to life, they gave the plant to the goddess of love and decreed that anyone who passed under it should receive a kiss.

Early Christians believed mistletoe was a freestanding tree during Jesus's time and that its wood was used to make the cross. God punished the plant for its role in the crucifixion by turning it into a parasite. This story gave mistletoe its Latin name, lignum crucis, wood of the cross, and its French name herbe de la croix.

Mistletoe is a parasitic shrub that grows in trees, rooting into their bark.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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