Blogroll , Current Affairs , medicine , Science , toxicity

Mistletoe and Markov

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How poisonous is mistletoe?  Every Christmas season this question is asked, and every season the accurate answer (most media doesn’t worry about that) is, “it depends…” It depends on which mistletoe you mean. In Britain and Europe the mistletoe used at Christmas is Viscum album which certainly contains some toxins – of which more in a moment.  In the US the mistletoe used at Christmas will be a species of Phoradendron, which also contains some […]

auctions , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Badgers trading mistletoe in the 1860s

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Tenbury Wells may have the only specialist mistletoe market in Britain today but there were many others in the past. Almost every market town in the mistletoe-rich parts of Worcestershire and Herefordshire played a role at one time, particularly from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. The Victorian passion for the kissing custom combined with the new easy transport by railways led to a huge trade. To get a feel for the trade at that time it […]

auctions , berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , social history , Tenbury Wells

Masses of mistletoe at the first auction of 2022

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At Tenbury Wells yesterday, for the first of the two mistletoe auctions this year. Masses of mistletoe there, though less holly than usual. I was also left with the impression there were fewer buyers and sellers than normal, but that’s difficult to really judge. Most of the mistletoe was looking very fine, lots of berries and not much with yellowy leaves.  But there were several lots, more than usual, with under-ripe berries – i.e. not […]

auctions , Blogroll , Current Affairs , druids , Mistletoe , Mistletoe Day , Religion , Science , social history , Tenbury Wells

Tenbury Mistletoe Festival 2022

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It’s back! The Tenbury Wells Mistletoe Festival returns again this year, having missed a couple of years due to the pandemic. Founded back in 2004 (by the five members – I was one of them – of the original Tenbury English Mistletoe Enterprise) it focuses on the first Saturday in December – the official Mistletoe Day (so 3rd December this year). There are also, of course, the town’s mistletoe auctions, which are on 22nd and […]

berries , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Media , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history

Mistletoe trade – then and now

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Many of my mistletoe talks this season have had a history theme, looking back at mistletoe in days gone by – both ancient (myth, legend etc) and modern, describing how Christmas demand for mistletoe from the 19th century onwards made it a saleable product, not just a curious tree parasite. The trade in mistletoe grew and grew – built on the growing popularity of the kissing custom in the Victorian era and a desire, requirement […]