Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wondering about Mistletoe

As you know, I spent the first part of my life living in western Pennsylvania. Living there, the only experience I ever had with mistletoe was at Christmas time when you went to the store and purchased a small package of it for a high price. What a surprise when I moved to Texas and found out it is an unwanted parasite that infests a large percentage of the trees.

Now, not being an expert on mistletoe (or under it), I don’t know where all it does grow. I do know it grows on the trees here on my property. It is hard to spot most of the year when the trees are in full foliage, but for the month or so when the trees are bare, it can be spotted easily.

Just yesterday when I was carrying the garbage cans back from the road, I noticed some in a tree next to my gate.

OK, I know most of you are bored with this because you have a lot of it growing around your home, too. So, here is a test for you bored folks. On this first picture, can you tell which ones are mistletoe and which are squirrels’ nests? (you should be able to enlarge all of the pictures)

Here is a labeled picture. Where you correct?
These next three pictures are closer views of the mistletoe:

Now you can see why it is so hard to see mistletoe when all the trees' leaves are big and green. It just blends right in.

It “blends in” (or should I say “into”) in other, more devious ways. Mistletoe is a parasite that lives completely off the host trees fluids and nutrients. It permanently attaches itself to the tree with roots that drill into the tree. Mistletoe seeds are spread mostly by birds when the sticky seeds hitch a ride on their feet.

Someday, maybe, I will take a big truck load of the stuff up to Pennsylvania just before the Christmas holidays and sell it off at half the price that the stores have it for, and make a fortune. Yea, right, that will never happen.


  1. I would not drive up into snow and ice country on purpose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  2. Me too What Barney said.. And about that tree killing stuff.. Cut off the limbs that crap is on or eventfully it'll take over and damage or kill the tree.

    My tree trimmer guy several years ago cut out a bunch of limbs with it on them, That helped a bunch. When you burn it, don't breath the fumes, Some people are real allergic to it.

  3. Barney, I agree.

    Ben, it is too high for an old guy like me to climb. I got plenty of trees, but only one me.

    Frann, I wish. . .

  4. I had that same thought about mistletoe several times growing up when I found out that not everyone had it growing around their house!

  5. This part of Tx is solid mesquite, with mistletoe, and it's easy to c even when they leaf out, (mistletoe clumps). It' been dozed, oiled, burned, and still LOTS. Just think, mistletoe, AND mesquite chips!!! Never understood why ranchers didn't use it.
    Now.... a good use for cactus. lol

  6. Hey Hermit, great minds run on the same track. . . or is that the same gutter?

    Trouble, I took a mesquite log in a cary-on bag to a guy in N.C one time. Took a lot of explaining to get on the airplane but when I told them that my buddy was paying big bucks for a few mesquite shavings for hia BBQ, they got the idea.

  7. I always liked standing under it on New Year's Eve. It's been a looooong time since that happened!

  8. I was right about the mistletoe, picking it out from the first photo, Dick, ONLY because I have a yard full of trees with squirrel nests in them! Well, at least I was right about something today!
    Have a good weekend!

  9. Howdy Gypsy, maybe you are now standing under the wrong tree (grin). Right?

    Kathie, Glad you were right. Did you notice that there were three squirrel nests in that tree? The main one on the right side was labeled, then there was a smaller one between it and the trunk on the far side of the tree and the thrird one was just to the left of the tree trunk. All lower than the mistletoe.