December 6, 2010; Source: UK National Trust | The National Trust, the British charity dedicated to the preservation and public access to buildings of historic or architectural interest and land of natural beauty, has launched a Christmas campaign to urge the public to purchase home-grown mistletoe for their homes and office parties.
Citing a decline in the plant’s main habitat—traditional orchards in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire—the Trust is fretting that mistletoe may disappear from large swathes of England, leading to sharp increases in prices and—horrors—imports from France. More seriously, mistletoe supports wildlife, providing winter food for birds and insects.
If all else fails, you can always grow your own mistletoe. A dedicated “Mistletoe Gateway” features many aspects of the hemi-parasitic plant, including biology, conservation, control, traditions, harvesting, medicinal usage and traditions in art nouveau. There’s even a Mistletoe News Blog. Disappointingly, we could find no pictures of smooching.—Timothy Lyster