Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary

November 21, 2004

Any colour you like, as long as it’s white

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jonathan Briggs @ 9:11 pm

Not much mistletoe activity this weekend – but I did go out hunting for mutli-coloured berries. I’d been told there were some unusual colours on some plants just up the road.

But don’t get too excited – we’re only talking differing shades of white here, not all colours of the rainbow. There is a red-berried mistletoe in Europe but that’s another species (Viscum cruiciatum) and only grows in Spain and Portugal. And there does seem to be some confusion in some places – especially in the USA – over red berried mistletoe. Many popular US mistletoe depictions (cards, t-shirts, badges etc sold at Christmas) are red-berried – but these are holly – – and there’s really no excuse – its easy to tell the difference, holly has got, er, spines.

Back to our Viscum album and its white berries: – there there have been various studies of colour variation in Va – particularly by Dr Grazi in Switzerland. He’s documented several colour forms – ranging from white, through cream to almost yellow. And I think the V a subspecies coloratum , a variant that grows in Asia, has yellow berries (hence its name). But ours are just shades of white.

So what did I find? Lots of white berries, with some a little more creamy. Just what i expected really but an interesting exercise – will post a pic or 2 here soon.

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