Florida Mistletoe Attracts Kissers and Critics
Florida mistletoe is most commonly found on laurel oak trees. So if you want to experience the Christmas tradition of kissing under the mistletoe, just look up. This Florida evergreen grows on deciduous trees, so when the leaves fall, you can clearly see it on the bare branches. Grab a cup of cheer and your significant other, and you’ll be all set for a smooch.
In reality, though, mistletoe isn’t very romantic. Not at all. It’s a parasite plant and sucks nutrients out of the host tree. That’s generally not a problem for healthy laurel oaks. But if you have a mistletoe infestation, the tree could eventually weaken and die. Your best bet is to prune the infected branches, not just the mistletoe. Be sure to wear head and eye protection.
The other downside is that clumps of mistletoe growing on a bare tree are just plain ugly. Of course, there’s an argument to be made for everything, with birds strongly disagreeing on this point. All they see is a beak-watering menu of delicious white berries with sticky seeds inside (which can cause seizures and death to pets and children).
All said and done, we believe that Florida mistletoe and laurel oaks can peacefully coexist as long as their “relationship” is managed. And besides, think of all the magical lore and customs associated with mistletoe. Stories about Frigga, the goddess of love. Why they were called “kissing balls” in the 1700s. And how ancient Celts used them in their winter solstice celebrations.
Yes, many have a love/hate relationship with mistletoe. But how does that song go? Oh, yes: “Oh, ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see. Somebody waits for you; kiss her once for me.”
Have a holly jolly Christmas, everyone!
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