Saturday, February 13, 2010

A pretty parasite

I don't think I'd ever consciously noticed mistletoe until I moved up here.
In fact, li'l 'ole ignorant me, if I had thought about it at all - which I hadn't - would've probably assumed that such a quintessentially Christmassy icon existed only in the snowy climes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Not so
Round here it's quite common to see huge gumtrees festooned with multiple clumps and managing to survive.
Smaller eucalypts aren't usually so lucky - especially the ones that have been stressed by drought conditions - but mistletoe is an important food source both the Silver-eyes and Mistletoe birds.
This is the first year that I've managed to catch them at the height of flowering ... maybe because of the recent rain ...

and - before anyone asks - yes, I do bring some inside at Christmas :]


lisette said...

and you can dye with it :)

catsmum said...

This is true Lisette !

Alwen said...

I hadn't thought of it growing here, either, but I think I caught a glimpse of some in an orchard as I drove by!

(There was a ditch and 20 inches of snow between me and the trees, so I didn't hop out of the car to look closer.)

Lynne said...

We noticed how vigorous the mistletoe seemed to be up north this year; perhaps a combination of a long drought and recent rains.

Our neighbour's ancient eucalypt succumbed to mistletoe and was chopped down a couple of years ago - the sky seems so much bigger now! :-)

ozjane said...

The country half of me has always known about Mistletoe and its unfortunate ability to take over the host trees and decimate them.
So part of me knows the right thing to do is to take it off the tree....but then it is fun at Christmas.

catsmum said...

Oh, I would take it off the trees Jane except that it's usually way, WAY out of my reach. Many of these trees are 60 - 100 feet tall.
I usually have trouble finding some that I can reach for Christmas!