Welcome back to Saturday Snippets..where I indulge my whimsy and have a play with one word prompts…My muse has answered me and for the next few weeks, I am going to try and use prompts that will incorporate a little festivity into the posts without using the word Christmas… this week after much deliberation my word is…Mistletoe!
And guess who sprung to mind immediately…
Many people associate mistletoe with kissing and festive holiday gatherings, you probably don’t want to know the etymology of the plant’s name. The original name was “mistaltan,” where “mistal” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for “dung,” and “tan” means “twig.” Basically, mistletoe means “dung on a twig.”…
Have you ever wondered why we hang mistletoe over doorways around Christmas time — besides the weird/gross tradition of forcing two people to kiss underneath it?
In medieval times, mistletoe was hung year-round to keep witches and ghosts from entering the house. Actually, mistletoe has a storied history, particularly with the Druid and Norse peoples, and was thought to ward off everything from infertility to fires.
The thing you’ve been hanging from your eves every holiday season can actually poison you if ingested. Mistletoe isn’t known to kill humans, but it can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, vomiting, and even seizures.
It’s also poisonous to animals, so make sure your cats and dogs don’t get a hold of any leaves or berries either…
As festive as mistletoe might seem, you should be aware that if you find some in your garden. That the Mistletoe is actually a parasitic organism that steals water and nutrients from its host plant before eventually killing it… who would think that such a pretty looking plant when in fruit can be quite deadly.
There are many tales and traditions surrounding mistletoe and although it is poisonous to us it is a source of food to some animals and birds…Butterflies lay their eggs on it and bees collect the pollen so an important source for wildlife…
It is also a very striking looking plant with the dark green leaves and white berries don’t you think and looks lovely in Christmas Wreaths.
So what else have I found which is associated with the word Mistletoe…
Mistletoe Birds… are native to Australia and are also called the Australian Flowerpecker. They live all across mainland Australia, wherever the Mistletoe grows…its flight call is a high-pitched, thin “dzee,” song a series of high twittering notes.
It is a tiny, compact bird, a typical flowerpecker with a short bill and a very short tail. Adult male glossy black as in the header image above, with a bright red chest, black stripe in the centre of the belly, and red under-tail coverts.
The female of the species is grey above, pale below, with red under-tail coverts.
When young the plumage is plain, with an orange bill base and under tail coverts.
Mistletoe Bay …Beautiful and sheltered Mistletoe Bay is situated in the spectacular waterways of the Queen Charlotte Sound in New Zealand…It is one of the most popular tramping tracks in New Zealand and most of it is open to mountain biking all year round…
An interesting cactus houseplant, mistletoe cactus is a modern indoor plant that has a unique form thanks to its trailing shape. A lush, full-grown plant looks stunning — making it a fun addition to your indoor decor as well as a conversation piece.
Because mistletoe cactus has trailing stems, you usually see this houseplant sold in hanging baskets.
Did you know?
Mistletoe Extract…has been used for hundreds of years to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy, hypertension, headaches, menopausal symptoms, infertility, arthritis, and rheumatism. Mistletoe is one of the most widely studied complementary and alternative medicine therapies for cancer.
Mistletoe Fig is an evergreen large shrub or small tree to 23′ with a spreading and rounded growth habit and is sometimes epiphytic in its native habitat in SE Asia…
What does epiphyte mean?... An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it…a plant that grows above the ground, supported nonparasitically by another plant or object.
In cooler climates, it is commonly used as an indoor houseplant and will grow to 3 feet in a container. This is an unusual plant with shiny, waxy, green leaves and yellowish undersides that have triangular black glands in between the leaf veins. The plant also produces yellowish, non-edible figs year-round. It is also used as a bonsai specimen.
Did you know?
There are over a thousand varieties of mistletoe.
The ripe white berries of dwarf mistletoe, native to the western U.S., explode to scatter their seeds as far away as 50 feet.
Mistletoe plants can provide nesting grounds for birds and mammals (although that’s mostly after the trees have died, sadly). Mourning doves spotted owls, Cooper’s hawk and squirrels have nested in mistletoe plants.
Those mistletoe plants that make up great nesting sites are often massive, weighing up to 50 pounds. They’re called “witches’ brooms.”
Nature’s gift to wildlife. Mistletoe berries provide a protein-rich meal to many kinds of animals. Bees flock to mistletoe for pollen and nectar, and birds stop by to nibble and collect nesting material. Just don’t get tempted into tasting mistletoe yourself– it’s toxic to humans!
How or how not to make a cocktail but fess up who is a cocktail expert (at)home and to me its how we make our cocktails not slick and perfect as on a video but great to drink.
Thank you for joining me today for Saturday Snippets…I hope you have enjoyed learning about the mistletoe…I have …xx