Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | October 25, 2010

Breton Mistletoe

Can anyone tell me why there is so much mistletoe in Brittany? Here is a familiar scene photographed today near Paimpont:


Responses

  1. Non !*grin* but it is true that there is a lot of misletoe/gui in the trees (particularly in the populus tremulus and the apple tree). I am very please and grateful to have misletoe in one of the two old apple tree on our land (-north bretagne- about 2 hours from Paimpont-). I did a little ritual at the winter solstice and cut a piece with a local “faucille” to hang inside the house…(of course I won’t add that I let some of the gui falled on the ground -not a druid yet !- when I was startled by the flight and “scream”of a very close owl !). Enjoy yourself Philip !
    french hug,
    D’Arzhur

  2. Perhaps it is abundant because it reproduces so easily since it is carried on the wind. How lucky you are. I have never seen mistletoe here in Hawaii. Perhaps I need to come harvest some for you there to use here.

  3. For some reason my city, Southampton, also has a lot of mistletoe. There are trees along ordinary roads with lots of balls of mistletoe hanging in them. Also in the surrounding countryside one often sees it. I have always assumed it was due to the New Forest being close by – but who knows.

    Shaun.

  4. You should see Herefordshire and the border of Wales, the trees are covered in it, and they’re huge mistles too. Alas the more Mistletoe, the more unhealthy the tree will become :S

  5. @Cynthia. Viscum Album (Mistletoe) seeds are not carried on the wind. The seeds are inside Berries. They have to be digested to become viable. Then they have to land in lightside wounds on branches and take up to 2 years to germinate.

  6. We have mistletoe around here in South Australia, I was delighted to stumble across some a few months ago.
    There are many native Australian species of mistletoe, yet it is considered a problem here by many people because of its habit of killing native trees.
    Indigenous Australians no doubt had a good understanding of this mystical plant.

  7. James is right -when we were in Herefordshire and the Wye Valley earlier in the year we noticed how much there was- the most I have seen anywhere. We have a fair bit on the Isle of Wight. There are some poplar trees near to Quarr Abbey that are covered with it.

  8. As a student of horticulture, I have read in several sources that mistletoe was not on the British Isles until quite late, and therefore it could not have been the plant referred to by the Romans regarding the Druids’ ceremonies. Have you heard this and could you make a comment?

  9. @Gwernen. I studied horitulture to đŸ™‚ Mistletoe was indeed found on the Islands before the Romans got here. The seeds of the Mistle have been found in the bellies of the “bog men”. However, it is possible that it’s not native, that in fact it was introduced during the Bronze age as our ancestor’s culture spread, like all medicinal plants it’s very likely to have been introduced by people practicing Druidry / proto-Druidry.

  10. Nice, thanks for that info. I thought it strange having found it in a few references, probably more to discredit the Druids.


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