London Mistletoe Matters, and a visit to Kew

A trip to Kew Gardens, to attend a meeting of the London Biodiversity Plan Mistletoe Group. As regular (!) Mistletoe Diary followers know, this is a group endeavouring to conserve London’s mistletoe, and create new colonies.

I won’t bore you with details of the discussions – more on those some other time. But you might be interested in our mistletoe-filled walk around the grounds…

Now you must first understand that Kew Gardens have no mistletoe – at least not live specimens – there are plenty of international mistletoe species represented in the Herbarium building, but they’re all dried-up…

In the grounds, and as part of the London mistletoe project, we’ve been trying to establish mistletoe anew. This has now been achieved, through the efforts of Masaya Tatebayashi, a horticultural student. And (this is good bit) we’ve discovered that despite expectations there IS mistletoe living at Kew, just not the UK species… As part of today’s meeting we went to look for both Masaya’s new seedlings, and the mystery non-native mistletoe… A few pics showing our efforts:

This is the mystery mistletoe… growing on a Black Oak, and looking suspiciously like Loranthus europaeus – a deciduous species of central Europe. What it’s doing here no-one seems to know. Note that the immediate clue is just a swollen branch – no evergreen leaves here. Close inspection shows that the branches differ markedly from the host.

And then the search for those seedlings… We know they’re on this tree somewhere.

Definitely, somewhere on this tree…

And at last, here they are… tiny, 2-year-old mistletoe seedlings… More on these in due course.

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