News

Mistletoe: poisonous plant becomes Christmas tradition

Mistletoe: poisonous plant becomes Christmas tradition

GOOD TIDINGS: Mistletoe is a centuries-old Christmas tradition. Photo: Associated Press/Allen Breed

It’s sort of a strange custom — kissing or embracing someone while standing beneath the leaves of a parasitic plant.

But it dates back centuries.

The practice of greeting someone while stationed under a sprig of mistletoe is thought to date back to ancient Britain.

Two hundred years before Christ’s birth, the Druids celebrated the start of winter by gathering mistletoe and hanging the plant in their homes to ensure a good start to the year.

Visitors often found themselves embraced under the waxy, green leaves and the white berries.

Scandinavian lore has it that the god of light and spring was slain by mistletoe, and his mother declared that it never again be used for evil. Her tears are said to have formed the white mistletoe berries.

Horticulturists point out mistletoe is a parasite, depending on a host tree for the water and minerals it needs to survive.

And experts warn you should be especially careful when decorating with mistletoe, especially when children are present. That’s because the berries are quite poisonous and can result in rashes, nausea or vomiting when ingested.

And it goes without saying what an adverse reaction one might get if caught under the mistletoe with the wrong person.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment, Sports

The best #ChevyGuy tweets from the World Series

Fresh
bumgarner1

As the MVP of the 2014 World Series, Madison Bumgarner was awarded a new truck with "technology and stuff" by a very nervous Chevy employee and Twitter took notice.

in Entertainment, Viral Videos

WATCH: Ice Cube teaches Elmo a new word

Fresh
11-overlay2

There was a time when parents would have freaked out to hear their kids were learning words from Ice Cube.

in Music

Brad Paisley joins New York’s first country festival

Fresh
bradpaisley

The inaugural FarmBorough event is slated for June.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Daniel Radcliffe ‘raps’ the alphabet

Fresh
17-overlay3

The "Harry Potter" star performs the tongue-twisting "Alphabet Aerobics" and it's hilarious.

in Music

Luke Bryan to headlines New Orleans’ largest Mardi Gras party

Fresh
lukebryan

The "Drunk on You" hitmaker will be the headliner for the annual extravaganza in February.