Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary

September 20, 2008

How can anyone mistake holly for mistletoe?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jonathan Briggs @ 8:15 am

A quick rant, partly to test whether blogging direct from ScribeFire really works.

In my online mistletoe ramblings, I often come across sites that have holly labelled as mistletoe – and they’re nearly all in the US.  But how can anyone mistake holly – a prickly-leaved red-berried bush/tree for mistletoe, a totally non-prickly small tree parasite whose characteristic species (not all) have definitively white berries.

I don’t know – but perhaps the clue is in my point that “they’re nearly all in the US” (they did elect Dubya, twice!, and now seemed over-awed by someone who looks like a page in a specsavers catalogue – but no, I must keep politics [if that’s what American elections are about] out of this blog!!).

So just who are the culprits on the holly = mistletoe front.  Well, a quick google image search brings up CNN as the first offender – with their ‘mistletoe’ pic coming in the first 5 on google.  Here’s their pic (from this site)
It’s so clearly holly that you have to wonder about CNN’s grasp of both the natural world and traditional customs.  But maybe if CNN are that thick I shouldn’t be surprised about everyone else?

Well, let’s have a quick look at Cafepress, a US-based design-your-own t-shirt, mug, thong etc site which is arguably a bit more grass-roots. 

Is it worse or better than google for ‘holly as mistletoe’ when I run a mistletoe search?  It’s worse, much worse.  First page brings up several holly themed ‘mistletoe’ logos.  Cafepress make it difficult to copy them – but here’s one taken from a screen-dump – and I think the caption sums up the problem nicely…

(Well, I think this scribefire compose/ upload thingie works – but can’t get as many options for image placement compared to direct through typepad…)


  1. Oh! Cafepress has loads of great hollytoe stuff! Must resist… That really ought to make a media 60 second story on the news (UK at least, others may miss the significance…) Good blog!

    Comment by Mark Rosher — October 26, 2008 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  2. […] though, unlikely as it sounds, there ARE a lot of people who confuse holly and mistletoe.  Click here for a previous year's rant about that issue in the […]

    Pingback by Where’s your mistletoe from? « Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary — November 21, 2011 @ 10:34 am | Reply

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