Mistletoe

As the Christmas and New Year holidays fade into my ever-dimming memory, the last of the mistletoe is added to the compost bin and I’m reminded of my first encounters with this peculiar plant “in the wild”.

On a midwinter break to Normandy we were struck by the remarkable number of rook or crow nests in the area.  Everywhere we went there were odd trees or entire copses with these odd, round bird nests perched in the upper branches.  It took a couple of days for us to “twig” that these weren’t nests at all, but massive clumps of the aforementioned mistletoe.  We had never noticed them on earlier trips as the trees had always been in leaf, hiding the mistletoe from view.

mistletoeOkay, it is obvious once you know what it is, but if you bear in mind that we had never seen it growing before and were viewing it from a distance, I think we were allowed to make this mistake!

However, I didn’t anticipate being taken in by a bit of vegetation up a tree a second time – which is precisely what happened a little over a year ago.

Around October 2007 we discovered a peculiar plant growing at the top of one of the trees in the little copse next to the garden lake.  It looked like some sort of fern – but growing at the top of a tree?  No way.  It looked mistletoe-ish but it had large leathery leaves, 4 to 6 inches long.  As the tree was so tall it was difficult to get a clear shot of it, but here’s the best we could get of it.  Just click the photos for the full size images.mistletoe-1

We asked various people what they thought it was but no-one could identify it.

This winter, all has been revealed.  The peculiar plant has completely altered (well, had a drastic makeover) and now reveals itself to be …… mistletoe.  The leaves are now the familiar tiny lobes and it has the characteristic white mistletoe berries.

mistletoe-21Here is the same plant taken a few days ago.  Obvious, isn’t it?  Doh!

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