Mistletoe is often associated with Christmas. There are numerous species, which grow in the wild. Given below are some interesting facts about this plant.
Facts About The Mistletoe:
- Did you know that there are nearly 1,300 different species of mistletoe spread all over the world?
- There are only two species found on American soil.
- The word mistletoe actually means, “Dung in the twig”. It was named so because many centuries ago, people observed twigs growing on places that had bird droppings. “Mistal” meaning “dung” in Anglo Saxon language and “tan” meaning “twig” were grouped together to form a “mistletoe”.
- However, droppings of birds have little to do with mistletoe growth. In fact, birds acted as carriers of mistletoe seeds (which were naturally sticky on their beaks, feathers, legs). When the bird visited another place in search of water or food, it used to drop these seeds on the woods or barks of other plants. They would fall on the ground and germinate into new plants.
- The dwarf species of mistletoe grow luxuriantly just about anywhere because they do not need a vectors like birds or insects to carry their seeds around. These plants have an advanced shooting mechanism where they blast off seeds from ripe berries up to a distance of 50 feet.
- It is a poisonous parasitic plant but is not overly destructive or lethal towards other plants and shrubs that grow in and around the forest area.
- The entire plant along with the berries is extremely toxic and dangerous to humans and should never be consumed. However, their high protein content makes them a perfect food source for animals lurking in the forests.
- Birds, butterflies, bees and insects feed on the nectar.
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