mistletoe leaves and berries
Plants Index
mistletoe  

Phoradendron sp.

'Tis the season to be kissing! Mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant that grows on tree trunks or branches and sends out roots that penetrate trees and take up nutrients. Mistletoe is spread by bird droppings that contain the seeds, hence the Anglo-Saxon translation of the word to "dung-on-a-twig." Though little known, there is kissing and mistletoe etiquette: you should pluck a berry when you steal a kiss under the mistletoe, and when the berries are gone, no more kissing!

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mistletoe on swamp tupelo tree
Mistletoe on swamp tupelo tree
photos: Mike Dunn
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