Garden

Mistletoe


A parasitic plant


Mistletoe is an evergreen parasitic plant, widespread in most of the temperate areas of the globe. It has a short and very branched stem, an intense green color; the habit is roundish, with dimensions between 20 and 50 cm. These shrubs grow as parasites, insinuating the base of the trunk under the bark of the trees, and feeding on the sap of the host plant; in March-April they produce small axillary inflorescences, consisting of yellowish-white flowers; the female plants in autumn also produce small round, sticky, white-colored fruits, with a gelatinous consistency, containing a single seed. The plants of this genus propagate thanks to the birds, which feed on small berries and then expel the seeds in the air with the excrements, in this way the seeds end up on the branches of the trees, where they will develop; this type of plant preferably grows on pine trees, on apple trees, on hawthorn, on oaks and poplars; it is often visible even on the branches of some conifers. These parasitic plants generally develop without causing excessive damage to the host plant, remaining small in size.

The legends



The ancients believed that varieties of plants had magical powers, perhaps due to the particular way in which they develop, or perhaps because they are often found on oaks, trees considered sacred for the Gallic druids; they are in fact the Gallic Druids who handed down to us the customs concerning the mistletoe; in ancient gallia berries were used in folk medicine, and the whole plant was widely used in magic rites, and was used as a wish for the new year.
In ancient times it was believed that the mistletoe developed on plants struck by lightning, from which a divine derivation of the plant was derived, which was then used to prepare medicaments, but also during magical and religious rites.
At Christmas time it is used for decorations on doors, as a symbol of joy, fertility, and goodwill; in fact, many ancient peoples used mistletoe as a cure for various diseases, including infertility. Even today, mistletoe extracts are used in herbal medicine, to promote healing from many diseases.

Planting



If we are going to get plants of this kind, perhaps for our Christmas decorations, then we can think of growing them independently. But how can you get good results?
As already mentioned, this type of plant is a parasite variety and therefore there will be a need for a host tree on which to grow the seedlings. Better to think of a species like poplars, firs or maples for your cultivation. The planting must be done by inserting the collected seeds, the month of January is the month in which it is possible to find the greatest quantity, inside the bark of the tree chosen to house them.

Mistletoe: Germination



The germination of this variety takes place in the spring and to see if your seeds have taken root you will have to check if bumps have formed on the bark. It must be remembered that an important factor for their development is related to temperature; in fact, the more it is high, the seeds will germinate more quickly. The growth of the mistletoe will be quite slow and it will take years before getting the result, but once it is, the satisfaction will be enormous.