Mistletoe

Common Mistletoe Common Mistletoe Common Mistletoe Common Mistletoe

What are they?

Well-known for its Christmas connection, mistletoe as a cut plant with its white berries is familiar to most. The plant grows as a parasite on the branches of woody trees, being spread by birds who deposit the sticky seeds onto tree branches, from where the seedling grows into the host plant and obtains sustenance. There are many such parasitic plant species around the world, especially in the tropics, but this is the only arboreal, parasitic plant in the UK.

Where are they found?

Bunches of mistletoe grow on the branches of its host trees and are most often found on apple, lime, poplar or willow. Because the plants are often collected for the Christmas market, most plants grow high up, out of reach of the pruners, making them hard to study.

Identification

The evergreen clusters of yellowish-green, forking stems are distinctive and most easily found in the winter when the host trees have dropped their leaves.



Common Mistletoe      Viscum album

Native. Clumps of this parasitic plant are widespread, though local on a range of tree species but most notably willow/poplar or apple. Flowers February to March. The tiny flowers are easily overlooked without close examination; male and female flowers appear on separate plants. The white berries can last for much of the year, but are most noticeable from late October to March.

Common Mistletoe Common Mistletoe Common Mistletoe Common Mistletoe
Habit
Flowers (Male above,
female below)
Leaves
Fruit