Mistletoe Hunting

Reader Contribution by Sherry Leverich Tucker
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During the holidays we hang Mistletoe up, under the door sill. This gives us an excuse for hugging and kissing during this merry time of year (like we need an excuse!). But, what exactly is mistletoe? Here is a link to information about mistletoe. It is actually a very interesting parasitic plant!

Mistletoe does not grow here in southern Missouri where we live. It is easy to spot in treetops, though, just south of here. We have even seen it just beyond the Arkansas/Missouri border, which is less than 50 miles. On our trip this fall just East of Texarkana (in southern Arkansas) we found mistletoe growing in our friends large oak tree. I could tell that my mom was just a little excited to find it growing in her oak tree low enough to reach with a long handled saw. Jean, our hostess, longtime family friend, and owner of the beautiful farm where this mistletoe inhabited oak tree stood, was happy to accommodate my mom in procuring it. Mistletoe is so green and beautiful. It has an almost leathery feel to its sweet little teardrop shaped leaves. Mom had fun sawing down the twigs, and we gathered a large basket before quitting.

There were also some large clusters of mistletoe up in the high branches of the oak tree. It is sometimes a pastime to shoot at the mistletoe with a shotgun. How effective this is at ridding the tree of the parasite, I know not, but I am sure that (by and by) there have been many young boys who have enjoyed this spo


We took the mistletoe home in hopes of it lasting till the Christmas season. The pieces that fared the best were refrigerated with a damp paper towel. Most of it dried out, though, so I think it would work best to pick it later in the fall if plans are to use it for holiday decorating.

So, Merry Christmas, hang your mistletoe and put your lipstick on. I already hear my three boys grumbling as their mommy chases them down demanding smooches!

photo credit:  top, Alice (mom) with Jean Lowe holding basket of beautiful mistletoe.  bottom, Alice (mom) using a long handled saw to cut the mistletoe out of the tree.