What Is Mistletoe and How Does It Grow?
Mistletoe is an evergreen plant with leather like leaves and white, waxy berries. The plant’s flowers can be a wide variety of colors, from bright red to yellow to green. It does not grow from the ground, but is a parasite that grows from a “sucker root” on the branches of other trees.
Although it is parasitic, it will not kill the host tree but can weaken it. Mistletoe produces its own food by photosynthesis, and is able to live on its own, although it is mostly found in trees. It’s common for a mistletoe plant to grow on top of another mistletoe plant.
Birds eat the white berries, and then wipe their bills on tree branches to get rid of the sticky seeds. The seeds stick to the bark of the tree and grow into new mistletoe plants.
The berries are poisonous to humans. If you have mistletoe in your house this holiday season, be sure that it is in a place where children and pets won’t be able to get to it.
Mistletoe is best known as a Christmas decoration. Hanging up mistletoe at Christmastime is an old custom-anyone standing under it may be kissed.