The History of Mistletoe

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- I'm sure you have been caught and surprised under a sprig of mistletoe in the past and no Christmas holiday would be complete without a sprig of mistletoe hanging over that special doorway.

Although this traditional green plant is a familiar sight to millions of people, few are aware of the reasons for its strange distinction. Here's your history lesson for today. Since earliest times, the mistletoe has held the awe and interest of many people. Special powers have been attributed to this plant. For example, It has been used in medical preparations and in religious rites, including those of the ancient Druids. Of course, the best known custom associated with mistletoe is of kissing beneath a suspended sprig of this plant. This understandably popular practice supposedly has its origin in Scandinavian mythology.

Of the many species of mistletoe found in the United States, only one is commonly used for decoration, the American mistletoe. Get this, its actually a parasite on various deciduous trees and is usually found growing in the branches of oaks, maples, sycamore and gum trees. Actually, here in Huntington you would be hard pressed to find mistletoe in any other tree than maple. The mistletoe is most common in the Southeastern part of the United States, but it can be found as far north as the state of Delaware.

As I mentioned, all you need to do is look up in and around our area especially Huntington. Many green clumps of mistletoe can be found right along the residential streets. Mistletoe is is a small shrub plant with yellow green leaves. The fruit consists of clusters of white pearl-like berries. Since these berries are poisonous, take care to keep sprigs of mistletoe out of the reach of children.

If you want to renew an old friendship or even strengthen an already loving relationship, I'd suggest a walk in the park or better yet a walk along the many streets of Huntington.

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