In ancient times, Celtic Druids believed that Mistletoe was a holy plant because it rooted closer to heaven than any other plant. Its evergreen leaves symbolized the promise of spring’s return. In Scandinavian mythology, Mistletoe was a symbol of peace. These traditions and beliefs were adapted by the English and French, giving us the holiday custom of kissing under mistletoe bunches. Hanging Mistletoe is a Christmas tradition in North America, while in Europe; it is more commonly associated with New Year’s Eve.
Mistletoe grows as a parasite on trees. As a small seedling, it roots into the bark and wood of a tree and makes a connection with the growing ring of the host. Although Mistletoe makes its own food, it steals water and nutrients from its host tree.
Even though Mistletoe is generally associated with winter holidays, this parasitic plant grows year-round. It’s distinctive green leaves, stems, and white berries – each with a sticky seed inside – are easily recognizable.
If you are planning on having Mistletoe around longer than the Christmas season and wish it to continue looking fresh, dip the split ends into some melted wax. You can also spray the whole thing with clear plastic spray to prevent the shriveling of foliage and falling of berries.
Florists keep Mistletoe fresh by just refrigerating it without water. It is best to wrap it in cellophane or plastic and keep it in the cold until your ready to use it in your arrangement.
Between 1985 and 1992, U.S. poison control centers reported 1,754 cases of accidental poisoning of children or pets with Mistletoe. Accidental ingestion of American Mistletoe can be harmful, so keep the plants and decorations out of the reach of children and pets.