Trawling through some newspaper archives I came across this gem, from the Gloucester Citizen in January 1887. It describes a case of mistletoe theft, in which the perpetrators are found guilty when a PC Brookes matches the cut mistletoe they’ve sold to the scars left on the apple tree! A brilliant piece of forensic science! I hope everyone in court had a good kiss afterwards. The bit I find difficult to believe is the valuation of the […]
Can you measure love with Tesco’s mistletoe sales?
A headline in the Southern Reporter (a regional newspaper in Southern Scotland) announcing that “Mistletoe sales slip in Galashiels” caught my eye yesterday. The story is based on statistics from Tesco, who have apparently released information on mistletoe sales from their stores across the country. Their Galashiels store apparently had the third worst mistletoe sales in the whole UK, and the worst in Scotland, making it “Scotland’s leading loveless location”. Only Tamworth and Birmingham were […]
An ‘impossible’ mistletoe sprig
Mistletoe NEVER has berries between the leaves. Except in inaccurate Christmassy drawings by botanically illiterate artists. It’s a point I’ve made in this blog many times, as my regular reader knows well. So what (see left) is this???!!! A botanical impossibility? Well, it’s certainly not the way it’s supposed to be – which is that there are flowers between the leaves, each developing into a berry over 9-12 months, by which time those leaves have fallen off […]
Is mistletoe good, bad, or somewhere inbetween?
Picked up a copy of the Christmas New Scientist yesterday and was pleased to find a two page feature on mistletoe, with headline features claiming it to be ‘misunderstood’, ‘marvellous’ and the ‘unsung hero of the woods’. What had prompted this lavishing of praise for Viscum album? (and why woods – that’s not a Viscum album habitat?). The answer, of course, is that the article wasn’t about Viscum album, the Christmas mistletoe, at all – indeed V. album was barely mentioned. This was […]
2012: loadsa berries, a weeny bit green & lots of seedlings…
Last day (hooray!) of the mistletoe despatches for the English Mistletoe Shop today. Five weeks of being covered, on harvesting days, with algae from the mistletoe stems and, on despatch days, with slime from squashed berries – and all so that people can enjoy a few kisses. Is it worth it? In financial terms maybe not (don’t encourage your children to aspire to be mistletoe traders if you want them to be wealthy). Though in […]
Can mistletoe keep your cat calm?
Spent the afternoon in pagan company today, with a mistletoe cutting ritual, (twenty-)first century style, and good conversation. Many thanks to Keith et al – you know who you are – for organising it. One of the issues discussed, during and afterwards, was mistletoe’s role in medicine – and the ‘usual’ issues – modern cancer therapy, traditional use as a herbal tea to relieve high blood pressure etc were discussed. But we hardly touched on […]
Blackcaps, mistletoe and Monty Don doesn’t know
The possible interaction between increasing overwintering Blackcaps and increasing spread of mistletoe In the UK is fascinating – and I’ve mentioned it in this blog several times. The basic story is that Blackcaps, Sylvia atricapilla, have started overwintering in Britain in increasing numbers since the late 1980s, a few dozen at first but now 1000s. And during the same time period mistletoe distribution seems to have subtly changed. Basically there’s more and faster spread of […]
Toronto has a street full of ‘kissing stations’
The Utah mistletoe kissing experiment reported earlier isn’t unique – they have something similar, though not for research, in Toronto. There they have a whole street (Bloor Street) with 21 ‘kissing stations’ set up along it – each marked with a circle on the pavement/sidewalk and each with a little bunch of mistletoe hanging up above. It’s difficult to tell from the pictures but it looks as if they might be using real mistletoe (though […]
Utah students ‘research’ mistletoe kiss
Some light relief from Utah this morning – students, apparently from Brigham Young University (BYU), have uploaded a Youtube video called the Mistletoe Kissing Prank. They interview people about their Christmas habits, ending with a question about kisssing under mistletoe, at which point mistletoe is lowered, by an unseen assistant, over their head. It’s an interesting video, and the slap at 30 seconds in is a must-see, but it’s also interesting for two fascinating anomolies: Firstly BYU is […]
Birmingham media get mistletoe story right…
I’ve often had reason to rant at the national media for their apparent inability to grasp mistletoe crop v. conservation issues – so it’s good to see that the Sunday Mercury, a local paper in Birmingham, got it right last weekend. Online story is here, or you can read the print version in the photo (click to enlarge). I particularly like the quote from me: “It’s utter b****cks – and you can quote me,” said Midlands mistletoe […]