Mistletoe in ten languages – the orgin of ‘mistel/mistle’ is thought to be Germanic so it is no surprise that German and English are the most similar, while Italian originates from the Latin name.
Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that relies on the tree to which it is attached for water and support. Some species create food through photosynthesis while others also rely on their host for nutrients. Lots of birds like to nest in mistletoe and the berries provide food during the winter, like other berries.
Mistletoe was thought to be important for the Druids and was associated with fertility, leading to its use as a Christmas decoration with a man able to kiss any woman standing underneath a sprig and bad luck falling upon any woman who refused. Some people say that a berry should be plucked form the mistletoe after each kiss and no more can happen once all the berries are gone!
Have you ever spotted any mistletoe in trees near your home?
Does anyone still hang mistletoe in their houses for Christmas?