are traditional Christmas decorations, but their decorative uses predate Christmas by centuries. Mistletoe, used in rituals by both Druids and ancient Greeks, is a parasitic plant that grows high in trees, usually oaks. We have some growing on one of our farms. Do you see it?
Or even closer.
Usually it grows high in the tree on the outer edges of a slender limb, so forget trying to climb the tree or using a ladder to get it.
If you cut down the tree—or even cut off the limb, there'll be no more mistletoe. American mistletoe is parasitic
. Seeds dropped by birds take root in the tree itself and the mistletoe draws its nutrients from the tree.
So how do you harvest mistletoe? Carefully. The best way is with a rifle. If you're a good shot, you should be able to shoot off a big enough piece for decorative purposes but still leave some growing.
Since I have very little mistletoe, I don't think I'll be using it as a decoration this year. However, I do have a huge holly
tree in my backyard. Here's a close look:
And a look from a bit farther back (that's the old gazebo behind it):
And, just to give you an idea how big the tree is, here's the house in the background:
Sometimes, Spotz the barncat likes to "levitate" in the holly. Do you see her? (These pictures of Spotz in the holly tree were taken last year):
How does she get to ends of the branches without falling off?
Here's her secret: A wild grapevine grows through the holly tree. Spotz climbs the grapevine and sits in the spot where the several vines form a place to sit.
I wonder if I can persuade Spotz to climb for mistletoe?
Labels: cats, trees