Viscum album (Mistletoe)

Hello! My name is Mistletoe, but my scientific name is Viscum album. I am known for my evergreen leaves and white berries. Some people think of me as the kissing plant. This may have come from a time when one would kiss the person standing under a mistletoe sprig full of berries.  

People call me a parasitic plant because I grow on existing trees and take their nutrients and water. But I also make my own food from sunlight by photosynthesising. This makes me only hemiparasitic — not a complete parasite.  

My leaves grow from branches in pairs. In winter, my pearly white berries keep hungry birds full. After eating the berry, birds will wipe their bills on branches of trees and leave behind the berry seed. Seeds that manage to stay on the tree will grow a new mistletoe plant.  

You can spot mistletoe growing in round green clusters on large trees. They are especially easy to spot when host tree has lost its leaves.  

Overharvesting of mistletoe may be one of the factors to the population decline in this rare species so please be mindful of my friends over the holidays.