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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hunting for Mistletoe

As homes around the country are trimmed for the holidays, many will hang a ball of mistletoe above the doorways in addition to garlands of evergreen and boughs of holly.

Where did the legend of the mistletoe begin?

Why does this cute little sprig of nature turn scrooges into smoochers?

One legend attributes this practice to the English, who after every kiss, plucked a berry from the bunch and discarded it. When the berries were gone, tradition called for the kissing to stop.

In the past this parasite was used for medicinal purposes. It grows in ball-like clumps high in the tops of certain hardwood trees. It puts down roots into the tree bark, drawing water and nutrients from its host. Appropriately, mistletoe's scientific name, Phoradendron, means "thief of the tree" in Greek.

Now to the hunting of mistletoe!

And I do mean hunting. In West Virginia you get out the shotgun and POW! POW!

Mistletoe shooting is a tradition in the southeastern United States.
It is the most effective way of getting it out of the tree.

So, if you ever wondered where mistletoe came from, look below and you will see.

Prize sighted in top of a Gum tree.

Getting ready.....

Aim and fire......

Prize on the ground....

Isn't it pretty?

Ready to take home

Wow! That's a big bunch of mistletoe!
Someone's bound to get kissed this week, don't you think?

Remember, mistletoe is poisonous and should be kept safely away from young children and pets.


  1. I love this post!
    I pass by several clumps of mistletoe everyday and had considered stopping for pictures. I had considered writing a post on mistletoe, but yours will do.
    Thank you.
    Be sure to stand under and get plenty of kisses. It only works its magic once a year!

  2. I love real mistletoe! Hope you get lots of kisses!

  3. We got ours hung yesterday too, Janet, and took some to my son in Fairmont. Your bunch is beautiful! I love the lore connected with it. My mother was English, as you know, so we follow many of her traditions. Mistletoe was important to her. I still hang a kissing ball every year like she did. Last year I posted directions on my blog. I'm re-using that one this year.

  4. Janet I've been scanning the trees for mistletoe and the only one I found was in someone elses pasture where I could get it! Loved this post! Nothing like watching someone shoot out the Mistletoe!

  5. Since I live in the big harsh city, I don't get much of a chance for real mistletoe. I do, however, have two fake versions. One is inside a silver bell that I've had for 30 years. The other is a big ball with a red ribbon on it. I still hang them both. Thanks for sharing the history. xxoo

  6. Janet: Now that's a new one for me. What a neat story of the hunt. Does a big capture like that mean an extra big kiss?

  7. Fishing Guy, that sounds like a winner to me.

  8. Well, I'd never heard the story of the mistletoe. That was interesting. Tell Andrew he did a real good job.

    Have you been caught under the mistletoe yet?

  9. I dont think I have seen mistletoe around here, I guess I will have to go out and shoot some, LOL.


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