Is Mistletoe Invasive?

As part of our Oklahoma Invasive Plant Council monthly webinar series, we thought we would go for a fun and seasonal theme this month! To give away the answer – no mistletoe isn’t invasive, but I highly recommend that you join our webinar or watch the recorded webinar to better understand what invasive means and to learn a little about mistletoe biology, its effect on Oklahoma native trees, and traditions around this parasitic group of plants.

Webinar LINK

My part of the webinar was a short presentation on the history and cultural significance of mistletoe. It was a fun topic to learn about! If you want to learn more, below is my list of the information sources.

Mistletoe Information Resources

Mistletoe: Its Role in Horticulture and Human Life. L.K. Paine and H.C. Harrison, 1992. HortTechnology 2:324-330.  https://journals.ashs.org/horttech/view/journals/horttech/2/3/article-p324.xml

Mistletoe: From Mythology to Evidence-Based Medicine. Zänker KS, Kaveri SV (eds) 2005. Transl Res Biomed. Basel, Karger, 2015, vol 4, pp 1-10. doi: 10.1159/000375421 https://www.karger.com/Article/PDF/375421

Native American Ethnobotany. D.E. Moerman. 1998. https://www.workman.com/products/native-american-ethnobotany

The Useful Wild Plants of Texas. Scooter Cheatham, Marshall Conring Johnston, Lynn Marshall, 2009. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Useful_Wild_Plants_of_Texas_the_Sout/8tlGAAAAYAAJ?hl=en

Toxic Plants of North America. George E. Burrows and Ronald J. Tyrl. 2012 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/book/10.1002/9781118413425

Mistletoe—A Keystone Resource in Forests and Woodlands Worldwide. David M. Watson, 2001. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 32:1, 219-249  https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.32.081501.114024

Plants and Culture: seeds of the cultural heritage of Europe. J. Madeja et. al., 2009. Chapter: Bracken, mistletoe and bladder-nut – mysterious plants with unusual applications. https://studyres.com/doc/13375589/00-inizio-pace—plants-and-culture–seeds-of-the-cultura…

White-berry mistletoe (Viscum album L.): A Hemiparasitic Plant: Occurrence and ethno-botanical use in Kashmir Suheel Ahmad, Nazim Hamid Mirand Sheikh M Sultan, 2018. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 2018; 7(1): 1831-1833. https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/?year=2018&vol=7&issue=1&ArticleId=2802

Nutritive value of winter-collected annual twigs of main European woody species, mistletoe and ivy and its possible consequences for winter foddering of livestock in prehistory. Hejcman M, Hejcmanová P, Stejskalová M, Pavlů V. The Holocene. 2014;24(6):659-667. doi:10.1177/0959683614526904 

Here’s Why People Kiss Under the Mistletoe at Christmastime. Kat Moon, 2018. Time Magazine – https://time.com/5471873/mistletoe-kiss-christmas/

Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? E. Andrews, 2018. https://www.history.com/news/why-do-we-kiss-under-the-mistletoe

Mistletoe: The Evolution of a Christmas Tradition. Rob Dunn, 2011. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mistletoe-the-evolution-of-a-christmas-tradition-10814188/  

How did mistletoe become a symbol of love? Lisa Bonos. 2016. Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/soloish/wp/2016/12/23/how-did-mistletoe-become-a-symbol-of-love/

“Mistletoe” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Richard Mize. https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=MI047.


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