First Posted: 12/24/2009
While some hang it up as a Christmas decoration, others use it in hopes of snitching a kiss from those who walk under it.
it Mistletoe, a plant whose origins date back to Greek mythology.
Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant and an evergreen. It grows on hardwood trees predominantly, according to Brian Cave, director of the Surry County N.C. Cooperative Extension service. It mostly grow in oak trees in this area. He said the female plants have white berries and the male plants dont have any berries.
The legend of the mistletoe started out with the Norsemen of Scandinavia, where if they met an enemy under the mistletoe, they would lay down their swords. I think thats where all the loving under the mistletoe comes from, Cave said.
In Norse mythology, Baldr was a god of vegetation. His mother Frigga, prompted by a prophetic dream, made every plant, animal and inanimate object promise not to harm him. But Frigga overlooked the mistletoe plant and the mischievous god Loki took advantage of this oversight, another diety into killing Baldr with a spear fashioned from mistletoe. Baldrs death brought winter into the world, until the gods restored him to life. Frigga declared the mistletoe sacred, ordering that from now on it should bring love rather than death into the world. Happily complying with Friggas wishes, any two people passing under the plant from now on would celebrate Baldrs resurrection by kissing under the mistletoe, according to information on Wikipedia.
It is traditionally shot out of the tree with a shotgun, Cave said.
It is spread by birds who eat the seeds and spread it from tree to tree.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.