February 10, 2005


There was a park by our old apartment that ended in a kind of wild area by the railroad tracks. We used to go walking there. Once 5 or 6 years ago my wife found a mistletoe growing in a tree, except it was a birch tree, remarkable because the Eurasian mistletoes only like a few hosts, including apple, poplar, willow and hawthorn, but as far as people know, not birch. So Karin told some people down at the botanical garden about this tree. A few days ago she was back walking in this park, and the city had put a engraved plaque on the tree saying that it was an 'eternal tree', never to be cut down.

Mistletoe is a fun kind of a plant, a parasite on its host, slow growing but persistent, living until the host dies. Mistletoe was known to the druids and is supposed to be good for kissing under-- there is a legend that this inevitably leads to marriage. Mistletoe causes the 'witches broom' collection of branches you see growing in trees sometimes. The American dwarf mistletoe likes conifers and sometimes oak. There is even one kind of mistletoe that grows only as a parasite on other mistletoes, themselves parasites.


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