Ho ho ho it’s mistletoe

While children are tucked away in there beds and visions of sugar plums are dancing in heads you might have nostalgic thoughts about mistletoe as well.

However, mistletoe is not as wonderful as it may seem. Mistletoe is actually an invasive plant. It stunts tree growth and will eventually kill the tree if not removed. Although it is toxic to humans, mistletoe berries are a wonderful source of protein for birds. They ingest the berries and then leave their droppings on the branches of trees while perching.

In fact the word mistletoe derives from observations that the plant would often appear in places where birds had left their droppings. The plant was given the name “misteltan” in Old English from “mistel”, meaning “dung”, and “tan”, the plural of “ta”, meaning “twig”. So mistletoe is actually another way of saying “dung twig”. Makes you really want to pucker up doesn’t it? So next time you see mistletoe tucked away in the trees when the weather gets cold remember the story of the “dung twig”.

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