Mistletoe is an evergreen parasitic plant usually found high up in trees. It does not take root in the ground, rather in the branches of the tree itself. The mistletoe relies on the tree for necessary nutrients, minerals and water. Its waxy white berries are toxic to humans but a food source for many species of birds.
If this plant is toxic, why would we kiss under it? Since Mistletoe remains green throughout the year many ancient cultures have looked at it as a symbol of fertility and healing. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe started in ancient Greece where it was used in the festival of Saturnalia and later in wedding ceremonies.
Victorians adopted this tradition at Christmas treating it as a rather serious business. If a girl refused a kiss, she shouldn’t expect any marriage proposals for at least the next year and it was thought she may even end up an old maid.
There is also a proper etiquette involved with kissing under the mistletoe. A gentleman is meant to pluck one white berry while kissing a lady on the cheek. One kiss is allowed for each berry.
From all of us at Gardenology Wales,
Wishing all our customers past, present and future a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.