Mistletoe

Viscum album

European Mistletoe, Common Mistletoe, All-Heal, Druid's Weed, Kiss-And-Go, Thunder Besom

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Evergreen, woody shrub species that is an obligate hemiparasite, also known by the widely recognised name mistletoe. These are plants that rely on other living plants to survive, gleaning nutrition parasitically. They cannot complete their life cycle without a host plant, these are most commonly apple, poplar and lime trees. Host plants are hindered by the presence of parasitic mistletoe on their branches and affected branches will grow slower as the hosts resources are being diluted and syphoned off to the parasitic plant. Thus in large specimens mistletoe is not usually detrimental, however in younger specimens, many parasitic growths can be harmful. They can reduce fruit crops, cause water stress in summer and increase wind chill in winter, possibly leading to host death. Foliage is arranged in opposite pairs or whorls and branches into multiples of 2. These leaves are leathery and strap-shaped. Flowers are non-showy, green-yellow and small, measuring around 1-3mm. Leading onto ornamental white, yellow, orange or red berries with sticky seeds. These are dispersed when birds consume the fruit, which is toxic to humans. Birds tend to get these seeds stuck to their beaks, which they wipe on tree branches to remove. Alternatively, they will consume the berries and regurgitate or defecate the seeds on host tree branches.

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Winter

Harvesting

Collected in Winter, it can be stored for 2 to 3 weeks in cool conditions.

Propagation

Seed

Place seed under flaps of bark.

Special features

Attracts bees

Attractive fruits

Special features

Origin

Eurasia

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Bark

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Personality

Family

Santalaceae

Flower colour

Yellow

Scent

None