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- Location: Virginia
That’s how it stood until last year in mid winter when I saw some on one of my walks. I was gazing up at the stark gray branches of a stand of oaks and saw a cluster of green leaves. Could it be? Our own mistletoe?? Yes, and easily amused as I am, I felt a slight thrill that finally a bird with bowel problems had sat on one of our oak tree branches and deposited mistletoe seeds! Yay! It thrived through the winter and early spring but then I lost sight of it through the heavy leaves of the oak’s spring and summer foliage. Once the oak leaves fell again this fall, there was the mistletoe, thriving and in an ever larger cluster. It’s out of the question to harvest any because it’s simply too far up the tree, even a daredevil 12 year old boy would hesitate at the height. It’s safer to leave it where it is and let any kissing or romantics take place underneath.
I found this article on mistletoe and it seemed a good source plus an interesting article ~~~~> Mistletoe: The Evolution of a Christmas Tradition | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine
I’m hoping its seeds will attract more birds and thus result in even more patches of it in the area. It’s a parasitic plant but it doesn’t harm the host tree. Isn’t there another word other than parasite that is used for things like that? To me, a parasite is something that sucks the life out of its host so does the name parasite apply to something that steals nutrients from a host but doesn’t harm its health? There’s bound to be a better word!
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To be a symbiote it would need to be required by the host for survival - at the very least it would have to actively benefit the host and I do not believe that mistletoe does so.
To be effective the mistletoe should be cut from an Oak bough at winter solstice with a bronze sickle - best to cut your own because the commercial outfits don't prepare it correctly
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A bronze sickle!