20 Dec 2008 • 1,138 views
A tree full of mistletoe growing in a garden close to a car park in Romsey.
Mistletoe (Viscum album) was the stuff of magic, because it seemed to appear from nowhere and, being evergreen, shows up brightly green against the bare branches of its host tree during the winter months.
Mistletoe is a parasitic plant, growing on a variety of trees. It seems to be species specific, so if a plant is growing on an apple tree its seeds will grow on other apple trees but not, as in this one, on a Poplar.
I've seen it growing in Apple, Hawthorns and Lime trees, this was the first time I had seen it in a Poplar.
Mistletoe can only reach a new tree with the help of birds. The berries are sticky, encouraging birds to wipe them off their beaks, and in so doing they push the seed into a crack in the tree's bark where it might germinate. Once a tree is 'infested' the plant regenerates itself by pushing out new plants.
Rose week #4