Holiday Fun Facts: Mistletoe

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We’ve used mistletoe as an excuse to steal holiday kisses for centuries, but do you know the origin of the well-loved tradition?

In the Middle Ages, mistletoe was regarded as a sacred plant that warded off evil spirits; later, it earned a reputation as a healing herb. Kissing under its branch began in the early 17th century, when people believed it would mend broken hearts.

You can find mistletoe growing wild, usually living in the branches of oaks, elms and poplars. If you want to try your hand at growing it, crush a berry onto a live tree branch; the seeds will germinate and sprout the following year.

It may take up to five years, however, for a stand of mistletoe to fully develop.

Keep in mind that the white berries on female plants are poisonous if eaten.

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