It’s that time again, again. With my first mistletoe talk of the season tomorrow (18th Oct) I’m dusting down the Mistletoe Machine and planning what to say, do and report on this season.
Current thoughts, for the blog this season, include:
- Reviewing the state of the ‘crop’ (though I never really go along with this ‘crop’ concept – which implies someone actually tends it!)
- Biodiversity news – reports on latest findings on mistletoe and conservation in the UK including…
- a possible new UK mistletoe insect, albeit one that simply eats one of the existing mistletoe insects
- new studies showing how UK mistletoe growths can influence (positively) the wider biodiversity around themselves
- Plus corresponding news about other mistletoes worldwide – their insects, their conservation value etc.
- A discussion about recent research on mistletoe’s interesting mitochondrial biology – specifically the lack of Complex 1, part of the respiration chain used by all multicellular organisms, except, er, mistletoe… Don’t be put off, this may be sub-cellular biology but it is, in discovery terms, fairly massive.
- And, maybe, if that goes well, a review of recent research into mistletoe phylogeny – how mistletoe(s) have evolved.
- Plus a series of tangential discussions about other plant parasites, particularly the Dodders and Toothworts and how they are, or might be, grown in gardens. Yes, I admit some are, visually, somewhat challenging but others are downright pretty parasites which deserve more appreciation
- And, talking of growing in gardens, there will be updates on growing mistletoe itself (clue – don’t do what the gardening books say – even the RHS still spouts complete bol**cks on this, it really does make me despair!)
More info, as always, on the sites linked at http://mistletoe.org.uk/