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View Full Version : Speaking of Christmas! What's on your tree?



Andromeda
12-16-2005, 10:45 PM
Mistletoe Plays Halloween Trick On Christmas Tree

To the ancient Celts and Vikings, mistletoe was a sacred healing plant believed to bestow fertility, bring good luck and avert evil; nowadays, it’s the kissing plant hung in doorways during the winter holiday season

But there’s a sinister side to mistletoe, explains a Thompson Rivers University researcher.

Dwarf mistletoe (dmt), an evergreen parasitic plant found on conifers in Canada, can significantly reduce a tree’s life expectancy. Even more important in beetle-infested British Columbia, the almost-invisible dwarf mistletoe species that prefers pines can weaken a tree and make it more susceptible to attack by micro-organisms and insects.

Spotting the one-to-two centimetre plants is tricky, but luckily the plant leaves a highly visible calling card: infection by dmt can cause bushy branch distortions called “witches’ brooms.”

That’s not the only Hallowe’en aspect to dwarf mistletoe. Just as fireworks play a part in the fall festival, dwarf mistletoe stages its own little explosions.

Unlike other mistletoe species which depend solely on bird droppings to spread their seeds, when dwarf mistletoe is ready to propagate, it can blast its sticky seeds up to 16 meters away.

Full story here (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051216191636.htm)