Talk:Mistletoe

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Some mistletoes are poisonous - though not all[edit]

The statement "the whole plant is poisonous. Refer to http://www.swmedicalcenter.com/11948.cfm for example" is misleading.

Actually, only a few species (there are about 1500 across the world) are poisonous. The most significant toxic species are the American Phoradendron species used at Christmas - but onle because these have close contact with pets and children. But that's only in N America - and there're a lot more mistletoes elsewhere. The 'true' mistletoe of legend, the European Viscum album species is not toxic - and is widely used in medicinal teas throughout continental Europe. It has toxic elements, and specific Lectins that are used in cancer treatments - but it is very misleading to generalise... See www.mistletoe.org.uk for general info and links to other sites.


Culpeper said "some, for the virtues thereof, have called it lignum sanctae crucis, wood of the holy cross, as it cures falling sickness, apoplexy and palsy very speedily, not only to be inwardly taken but to be hung at their neck". Which suggests that he did not consider Mistletoe wholly poisoness.

And that entry brings up another issue that should be included; The legend that Christ was crucified on a cross of mistletoe wood. This is referred to in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. New and Revised Edition 1981. Edited by Ivor H Evans.

Why do we kiss under the mistletoe?[edit]

Q Rich Farmbrough 14:55, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

A "According to a custom of Christmas cheer, any two people who meet under a hanging of mistletoe are obliged to kiss. The origin of this custom may be related to the story of Baldur coming back to life because of his mother Frigga (or Frigg), the goddess of love who removed the mistletoe's poison with her tears. When Baldur came back to life she kissed everyone who passed underneath the mistletoe out of happiness and gratitude and thus started the custom." --Jojje 14:08, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Do you have a source for this story? Also, I think you may have confused Frigg and Freyja.

I agree. To my understanding, this is wrong, as Baldur stayed dead until Ragnarok because Loki did not cry for him, which broke the deal between Frigg and Hel. --- Thesis4Eva 16:53, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Properly speaking every time someone is kissed under the mistletoe a berry should be removed. When the berries are all gone then the kissing has to stop.

This story seems extremely unlikely to me - if this were true then surely the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe would have originated in Scandinavia rather than Britain. I always understood that the tradition originated from an ancient fertility rite - the plant is in fruit at the winter solstice i.e. birth of the new year (and the berries contain a semen like fluid). The links given in the article http://www.mistletoe.org.uk/ mention this as the origin albeit with the possibility of the rite actually being invented by Druids in the 16th century. twitter 09:42, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

But not all Mistletoe has berries. Honda Enoch (talk) 21:59, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Werewolves[edit]

Is there an attribution for this superstition? I suspect this recent edit was cribbed from the less-recent Tooth and Claw (Doctor Who) by Russell T Davies, who I suspect made it up. For one thing it's justified within the plot, for another I've never heard of it.

If I'm wrong, sorry.

This link http://werewolves.monstrous.com/werewolves_powers.htm gives a little detail, but not very much - MPF 23:55, 19 May 2006 (UTC)


This page contradicts other pages[edit]

This page says Balder dies and come back to like because of Frigga. Whereas the article on Balder says that he wasn't allowed to come back to life... So which is it? I personally thought you kissed under the mistletoe because it had the pretty red berries through the winter and you kissed under it because it symbolized "eventual rebirth in spring", like the other evergreens.

But *shrugs* I don't know if I'm right or not.

You're absolutely right... I have no idea where the author got this, but in the extant norse mythology Baldr is not a god of vegitation and he isn't revived until Ragnarok... The author may be confusing some contemporary work with the mythology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 136.152.184.191 (talk) 01:39, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Unless some citation appears for this "Baldr ressurection" story, it should be removed. -- 189.10.150.150 (talk) 01:05, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

The berries are not red and the tradition is linked to the vitality of the sap of the berry.

Oklahoma[edit]

When I was growing up in Oklahoma, the public schools taught that mistletoe was the state flower. User:70.174.166.186 has challenged that, but I wonder if it isn't revisionist history (perhaps by the Legislature), and I'd be interested in seeing a reference.--Curtis Clark 16:47, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

You're correct: it was declared the territorial floral emblem in 1893, and became the state flower when Oklahoma became a state. Mistletoe remained the state flower until 2004, when it was replaced by the Oklahoma Rose; mistletoe was demoted to state floral emblem. --ABehrens (talk) 16:57, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Map of where mistletoe grows?[edit]

Does mistletoe grow everywhere on Earth? I wonder because my girlfriend from Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA saw it everywhere, yet in Charlottesville, Virginia where I grew up, I never saw mistletoe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.45.0.133 (talk) 00:02, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

No, there are many genera and species with the common name "mistletoe", but none of them have world-wide distribution. You can see the distribution of the european mistletoe Viscum album in the map at this url: http://linnaeus.nrm.se/flora/di/lorantha/viscu/viscalbv.jpg Plantsurfer (talk) 00:45, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Mazal Tov[edit]

I came here to check if the word possibly came from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazal_Tov. Or is this original research? ;)83.60.41.59 (talk) 19:13, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mistletoe --Curtis Clark (talk) 15:02, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Any relation to the word cacomistle? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.73.70.113 (talk) 01:42, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
No, the three words are entirely unrelated. Mistletoe is Germanic; mazel tov comes from Hebrew mazel "star", and cacomistle is Nahuatl. --ABehrens (talk) 17:04, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Semen equates to paganism?[edit]

I'm not sure that equating mistletoe's content to having "strengthened its pagan connections" is appropriate. Popular culture does tend to err on the side of promiscuity when it comes to paganism by exaggerating any emphasis on fertility, and twisting it to an emphasis on sexuality. This comment got my fur bristling a little, I suppose, since it came out of left field. Can anyone provide a valid citation? It is currently lacking one.

--MyGreensAreEaten (talk) 05:29, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Surely Baldr desrves mention?[edit]

Wasn't Mistletoe the wood that was used to kill Baldr? Noteworthy, no?83.104.158.1 (talk) 06:40, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Yep - it is under Mistletoe#In culture and mythology. - 2/0 (cont.) 06:48, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Extremely Homophobic Article![edit]

This article mentions that men might have the opportunity to kiss young girls should they meet under the mistletoe. This not only sexist but it is also homophobic. There is NOTHING wrong with a woman wanting to kiss another woman when they meet under the Mistletoe and there is also absolutely nothing with two men meeting under the mistletoe and kissing each other as well. This article is extremely Christian-centric and condescending towards females and the entire LGBTQ community. It is the great pain that this often unwanted Christian-centric attitude has caused suffering among many diverse groups of people worldwide! I would think Wikipedia would want its readers to be as diverse as the articles they wish to be on this site. 76.91.152.73 (talk) 10:12, 21 December 2010 (UTC)


ok---- !! !!!!

WP:RS, WP:SOFIXIT. --Curtis Clark (talk) 14:35, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
The article has now been rewritten to meet with 21st century PC standards, and in doing so has introduced error. It was not custom for 'any two people' to kiss under the mistletoe; it was tradition for a man and a woman to kiss. Do not forget that, rightly or wrongly, homosexuality was regarded with horror for centuries - it was a sin, and I cannot stress how importnat the idea of sin was in the past - and we are only recently overcoming this predjudice. You cannot impose modern standards on what went on in the past: revisionism, now matter how well meant, is not historical truth. The idea of women kissing women or men kissing men being acceptable in the past is a nonsense. Sorry, but that's just the way it was. I shall alter the article to reflect the historical truth. 86.133.211.60 (talk) 11:10, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Basil?[edit]

"Old English mistel was also used for basil." Are you sure? Basil is not native to the UK - would it have been introduced so early to the UK? The Old English article says the language was used between the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. Would basil have been brought to the UK by these early dates?86.133.211.60 (talk) 11:05, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

I'll correct the entry. The confusion seems to come from a misreading of old glosses, in which mistel is defined as ocimum. The error lies in assuming that mistel means basil; the correct interpretation is that ocimum was used to refer to a number of unrelated plants, basil and mistletoe among them.
The OED says “The traditional identification with either sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum, or wild basil, Clinopodium vulgare (both plants which bear no similarity to mistletoe), cannot be sustained, and rests entirely on an Old and Middle English glossarial tradition linking mistle with the Latin plant name ocimum (and variants)...” --ABehrens (talk) 18:02, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Harvesting techniques and cultivation[edit]

Information on the cultivation of mistletoe is needed. How is it grown, where, and in what quantities compared to the naturally harvested supply? [1] has some information on how it is harvested from forests - either by shooting it down or climbing up. Coverage of harvesting techniques should also be added to the article. -- Beland (talk) 18:29, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Merge with Viscum[edit]

The consensus in this discussion is to not merge. Northamerica1000(talk) 04:29, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should this article and Viscum not be merged? hgilbert (talk) 00:58, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Oppose: There are a number of other genera in several families, and in many parts of the world, the English word "mistletoe" doesn't refer to Viscum.--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:16, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Ditto. That is about what I have said in the Viscum talk page, as follows: There are more kinds of mistletoe than Viscum, so we really need the mistletoe article, but Viscum is a genus that justifies its own article. I reckon the best we could do would be to expand the botanical and taxonomic aspects of the Viscum article and perhaps remove some of its material that already appears in the mistletoe article, or move material from here if it belongs there. JonRichfield (talk) 19:53, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Tapinanthus and Agelanthus are also known as mistletoes, and likely several others. JMK (talk) 14:05, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per above. Not all mistletoes are in the genus Viscum. Guettarda (talk) 19:30, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Mistletoe is a general term describing a particular parasitic habit and can be used to describe plants in any of five distinct families. Viscum is but one genus of mistletoe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Docder (talkcontribs) 16:13, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


Etymology and German[edit]

Where did the author for this come up with the etymology of mistletoe? "Tang" is German for seaweed, not branch; "Zweig" is German for branch; even in Old German it was "Zein". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Midnightbrewer (talkcontribs) 04:03, 11 December 2013 (UTC)