Stand Beneath the Mistletoe


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Mistletoe shrubs. Spotted owls, hawks, doves, chickadees, grouse and many other birds also nest in mistletoe. In the winter, when food is scarce, mistletoe berries feed migratory birds such as robins and bluebirds.

In Mexico, mistletoe with brilliant flowers attracts hummingbirds. In South America, an adorable mouse-like marsupial called a Monito del monte munches on mistletoe fruit and distributes its seeds throughout the dense forests of Chile and Argentina. The plant is one of several that boasts explosive seeds—forcefully ejecting them from the berry and shooting them up to 50 feet at speeds up to 60 miles per hour in an attempt to splatter nearby trees and shrubs.

Mistletoe extract has a long history as a holistic cancer treatment, particularly in Europe. In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration has not approved the medicinal use of mistletoe, but some institutions are warming to the idea. In , Johns Hopkins School of Medicine initiated a clinical study into its effectiveness after a cancer survivor formed a nonprofit to fund the research.

Berries on the Phoradendron californicum , Desert Mistletoe, which is also a hemiparasite. Channing Paller, an assistant professor of oncology at the School of Medicine and study leader, told John Hopkins Magazine that mistletoe could potentially help boost the immune system.

Mistletoe could vanish within 20 years, says National Trust

In England, mistletoe is cultivated commercially, particularly in apple orchards. Mistletoe attached to an apple tree in England. But he still likes to keep sprigs of the plant around his home during the holidays.


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Pine boughs and other holiday greens help bring an increasingly urbanized world closer to the natural one. Follow us on Twitter to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders. Atlas Obscura and our trusted partners use technology such as cookies on our website to personalise ads, support social media features, and analyse our traffic.

Please click below to consent to the use of this technology while browsing our site. To learn more or withdraw consent, please visit our privacy policy. Just Released! The second edition of our bestselling book. Photo: Library of Congress In the United States, there are two native species, dwarf mistletoe and American mistletoe of Christmas-kiss fame.

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Obama’s Christmas Instagram Photo Of Him & Michelle Under The Mistletoe Is Adorable

Read next. Keep Exploring. Sheltered against the freezing winter, this plant show transports visitors back in time, and to a balmier climate. Jessica Leigh Hester December 28, A diplomat, a scientist, and a farmer tamed the blazing red plant into a commercial juggernaut. Sarah Laskow December 21, Researchers hope for a zero-waste alternative to landfills.

Rohini Chaki January 11, Eric Grundhauser December 17, Chilis were once holiday must-haves. Thanks for sharing! Want a Free Book? Stay in Touch! Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. I never do.

It will seal the deal. You are a delight. Which are? That women get quite enough unwanted kisses in life without the encouragement of Victorian traditions and viscum album. Well, mistletoe sales have been declining for the past 20 years, but growers say has yielded a bumper-berried crop. So maybe the time, as well as the plant, is ripe for a resurgence. Name: Kissing under the mistletoe. Age: About years old.

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Appearance: Increasingly rare. The tradition that says any woman standing under mistletoe can be kissed — And will be dogged by bad luck if she refuses. Another famous chapter in mistletoe folklore comes from Norse mythology. But Frigg neglected to consult with the unassuming mistletoe, so the scheming god Loki made an arrow from the plant and saw that it was used to kill the otherwise invincible Baldur.

stand beneath the mistletoe Manual

According to one sunnier version of the myth, the gods were able to resurrect Baldur from the dead. Delighted, Frigg then declared mistletoe a symbol of love and vowed to plant a kiss on all those who passed beneath it. Just how it made the jump from sacred herb to holiday decoration remains up for debate, but the kissing tradition appears to have first caught on among servants in England before spreading to the middle classes.


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