Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Down to the Cotswolds last week for much needed break even if weather damp.

Have never known so much mistletoe growing in the trees as we saw in the Hatherley area. In silhouette, the plants looked like exploding fireworks.

Mistletoe is famous for growing in apple trees, but there, limes in particular were favoured host plants. We also saw it on hawthorn and field maple with one old apple tree completely engulfed.

We weren't sure what the specific factors were that made it so common in one local area: only a short distance away there was no evidence of mistletoe at all.

Mistletoe is traditionally spread by birds who gorge on the berries and then wipe their beaks onto branches where some of the seeds are wiped off and become trapped in fissures in the bark. As a 'hemi-parastic' plant it gets its nutrients partly from its host plant and partly from its own glossy green leaves.

As it is parasitic, the plants need to be managed because they can take over their host tree.

Nottinghamshire is not famed for its mistletoe,. Armed with the bag of berries I collected and an intention to implant into venerable apple trees, this may change in years to come. Even if only in one locality.

And watch out ladies- I'm puckering up ready.

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