‘Tis the season for mistletoe! Actually, mistletoe is evergreen, so it’s around all year, but no one seems to notice it until December rolls around.
Henry brought home a giant pile of mistletoe the other day. He trims horses at a quarter horse ranch in Airlie that has a grove of oak trees on the property that’s full of the stuff. While he was waiting for one of the farmhands to catch a horse, he shimmied about 15 feet up the trunk and broke clumps of mistletoe off the main ball.
When I asked to Henry to elaborate on the botany of mistletoe, he told me I should just read the Wikipedia article. Really, I should, but instead, I made him give me the Cliffs Notes on the subject.
Mistletoe is more or less a parasitic plant that’s propagated when birds eat and subsequently poop out the tiny sticky/slimy seeds onto certain types of trees. (This particular mistletoe is limited to hardwood trees, but there are other mistletoes on conifers, too.) The seeds germinate with the help of the nutrient-rich bird poo, and then they set down their haustorium, a root-like system that penetrates the host species and sucks up food and water. Trees can live a very long time while hosting a mistletoe colony, but they will become progressively more stunted, and eventually, they will die.
I took a couple sprigs to hang around the cabin, but we still have a ton just sitting around. Instead of letting it go to waste, I’m going to bring the whole lot to the Marys River Grange annual holiday party/open house/potluck/wreath-making shindig. If any of you locals are interested in joining us (and taking home a wreath or a clump of mistletoe), we’d love to have you. The party starts tonight (Thursday, Decembner 13) at 6:00 at the Marys River Grange on Grange Hall Road in Philomath.
It turns out that mistletoe also makes a cute prop for cutting board photo shoots.
I added a bunch of new festively photographed cutting and serving boards to my Red Onion Woodworks shop yesterday and will probably get a few more up this afternoon. These boards do make perfect gifts, you know, and there’s still time to get your order in before Christmas. (hint, hint, nudge, nudge)