Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | December 17, 2011

New Mexico Mistletoe

The other day, as Keith and I took our morning soak in the hot springs, I happened to look up and notice a yellow-green mass of small oval leaves growing on a cottonwood tree that was otherwise bare of foliage.

A closer look, after we had finished soaking, revealed that the plant also sported a few small, white berries….it looked like mistletoe.

I was always under the impression that mistletoe grew in lush green forests….we had seen some in Florida last winter.

But what could mistletoe be doing in the desert?

Perhaps I was mistaken.

A quick internet search upon returning home confirmed my suspicions.

Broadleaf mistletoe does indeed grow in New Mexico, and now that I am aware of it, I can see clusters decorating trees just about everywhere.

As mistletoe is a parasite, removing it from the trees is a helpful act.

And, as mistletoe is also a lovely seasonal decoration (for those with no children in the house ~ it’s poisonous), I didn’t feel bad at all about walking to the park yesterday afternoon and collecting a good batch to bring home.

It’s so interesting…when you get up close, the mistletoe appears to be part of the tree like a branch ~ and it is, actually, since it is a parasite which roots into the tree to drink moisture and nutrients.

Most of what we gathered was devoid of berries and will be used to decorate our Yule Log on the Winter Solstice, but one small plant gifted us with a few clusters of berries, and we have tied it with red ribbon and hung it near the door of the camper to bring peace and prosperity to our home in the coming year.

New Mexico Mistletoe

We wish the same for you and yours in 2012, which should prove to be a fascinating time for us all.

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