Mistletoe

What would Christmas be without mistletoe? There is only one species of mistletoe native to Britain, Viscum album, but there is none growing in the park. We would love to see it established here but we are not sure how we would go about it.

Mistletoe is a hemiparasite which attaches to a tree with suckers and roots. It absorbs water and nutrients from its host plant; however, it also produces some of its own food via photosynthesis in its green leaves. Viscum album successfully parasitises more than 200 species of tree and shrub.

Mistletoe seeds are spread by birds. Depending on the species of bird, the seeds are regurgitated from the crop, excreted in their droppings, or wiped from their bill onto a branch. The seeds are coated with a very sticky material called viscin; when the viscin touches a stem, it sticks tenaciously. It soon hardens and attaches the seed firmly to its future host, where it germinates and penetrates the bark.

Let’s hope a bird somewhere in Southwick is feasting on Christmas mistletoe berries and will bring the seeds to the park.

2 thoughts on “

Add yours

  1. Have you noticed the huge ball of mistletoe in a tree in College Road opposite the College? It has probably been able to grow so big because it is very high up in a very large tree. otherwise I expect someone would have cut it it down by now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: