Mistletoe in the media, so far, 2015


Chris Groves, gardener at NT Cotehele, Cornwall, with this year's mistletoe crop.
Chris Groves, gardener at NT Cotehele, Cornwall, with this year’s mistletoe crop. Picture from the Tavistock Gazette.

It’s been a surprisingly quiet year, so far, for mistletoe in the media. Though we still have nearly two weeks to go before Christmas, so there’s still plenty of time for more…

Most of the coverage I’ve seen is in local papers. There have been the usual reports about the Tenbury Mistletoe Auctions and Festival in the regional and local press including the Shropshire StarWestern Morning News and Ludlow and Tenbury Wells Advertiser. Local TV covered Tenbury events too – BBC Midlands at the first Auction, ITV Midlands at the last one. Plus, of course, several local radio stations.

Plus, of course, the mistletoe stories outside Tenbury – here in Gloucestershire Cotswold Life magazine ran not one, not Two but THREE mistletoe articles in their December issue. One is a whole page feature by Roddy Llewellyn who, much to my surprise, makes the extraordinary statement that ‘mistletoe (Viscum album) is a fairly unexciting plant visually’. I don’t know what Roddy’s been looking at, but he needs to look again. Viscum album, visually, is one of the most distinctive plants in Europe, with weird symmetrical branching, perfect terminal paired leaves and, in winter, the most amazing crop of glowing white berries. How, Roddy, can you call that unexciting?? Perhaps he should have gone to Specsavers:

The other two articles in Cotswold Life are a quarter-page on the wildlife of holly and mistletoe and half-page about, er, me, to add to my collection of slightly embarrassing profiles.

Further south the Tavistock Times Gazette has a feature on the National Trust’s mistletoe colony at Cotehele, mentioned many times before in this blog. The management of the mistletoe, in the apple orchards there, is the main message, alongside the fact that NT make a bit of cash each year by selling it.  Illustrated with a great picture of garden manager Chris Groves, who is being kissed by a dog (see pic above).

Also, in local papers around the country, several features on local mistletoe surveys, which I will report on in a later post.

Paul Simons' article from Saturday's Times
Paul Simons’ article from Saturday’s Times

National newspaper coverage includes, so far, Monty Don’s usual slightly wrong piece in the Daily Mail, as mentioned in the blog last week), and a recent piece in last Saturday’s Times (behind the paywall online but you can read a scan of paper edition on the left!) talking about how the weather and climate are affecting mistletoe, holly and Christmas trees.

National radio includes that BBC R4 Farming Today piece a couple of weeks ago and an interview I did at the weekend for Dotun Adebayo’s Up All Night programme on BBC R 5 Live. Neither of those are exactly prime-time though – Farming Today is broadcast at 0545 and Dotun’s fascinating current affairs programme is on between 0100 and 0500. Kiss FM’s Breakfast Show are broadcasting a mistletoe feature soon – which might fit in better with most people’s daily schedule…

Meanwhile, in the rest of the World, the usual crop of peculiar mistletoe stories have appeared, including a new Guinness Book of Records World Record for the number of couples kissing under mistletoe at the same time. 201 couples kissed for at least 10 seconds under sprigs of real mistletoe from Mistletoeing.com, a US-based mistletoe supplier (of, of course, US mistletoes, Phoradendron species, very unlike the European Viscum. [note to Roddy Llewellyn, US mistletoe species ARE unremarkable to look at, are these what you where thinking of when you wrote your article?]).


Coming soon, from Mistletoe Diary:

Mistletoe Surveys


More Mistletoe Matters – links to mistletoey things to read, buy or do

Grow-Your-Own Mistletoe – kits and gift cards from the English Mistletoe Shop
A Little Book About Mistletoe – printed and Kindle versions
Mistletoe Matters Consultancy – all about mistletoe in Britain
The Mistletoe Pages – even more about mistletoe
Mistletoe Surveys – seeking your input…
Mistletoe Matters on Facebook
Mistletoe Matters on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Mistletoe in the media, so far, 2015

  1. I personally think the American Phoradendron species look amazing, especially the female plants! I purchased some from the US based Mistletoeing.com & requested their variety with pink berries… They look absolutely fantastic! I guess it’s a matter of taste…

    1. Thanks for your comment Annemarie. I’m sure Phoradendron can look stunning! I wouldn’t want to dismiss it as unremarkable. The point I was making, perhaps a little clumsily, is that Phoradendron is, in branching terms, a fairly conventional plant. Yes the white berries are relatively unusual and so it can look amazing in season, but the plant itself isn’t amazing visually at other times. Viscum album, the European mistletoe, is rather different. It has a very distinctive forked branching pattern, each branch dividing to two new branches each season and each new branch topped with two perfectly paired, and unusually shaped, leaves. So Viscum album is very distinctive and instantly recognisable (even in silhouette) at all times of year. And that’s before you add in the white berries at Christmas. My original point, of course, was that a well-known and should-know-better British garden writer, Roddy Llewellyn, thinks that mistletoe is ‘fairly unexciting visually’ which is clearly wrong for Viscum, and, taking your comment on board is wrong for Phoradendron too, certainly when it is in berry.

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