From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Plants (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Plants, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of plants and botany on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Some mistletoes are poisonous - though not all[edit]

The statement "the whole plant is poisonous. Refer to 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 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.

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 (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: Plantsurfer (talk) 00:45, 29 December 2007 (UTC)[]


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)[]

Seems to have been fixed already. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 02:49, 21 September 2014 (UTC)[]

I came here to check if the word possibly came from Or is this original research? ;) (talk) 19:13, 7 November 2008 (UTC)[] --Curtis Clark (talk) 15:02, 8 November 2008 (UTC)[]
Any relation to the word cacomistle? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (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)[]

The etymology as of 25 November 2014 was unsubstantiated and conflicts both with the Oxford English Dictionary and the Deutsches Wörterbuch. I've corrected, in the process removing references to mistiltane (not any of the 37 odd spellings in the OED) and to German „Mist“ (not referred to in either book). Feel free to replace if you can substantiate the reference. Groogle (talk) 03:03, 26 November 2014 (UTC)[]


"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? (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)[]

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.

Move Viscum album specific material to its specific article?[edit]

This article is meant to cover several geenra and many species that go under the name "mistletoe", found in many parts of the world. However, most of the historic and folkloric material in this article is specific to the European mistletoe Viscum album, and does not apply to most of the other species. Therefore, that material should be moved to the Viscum album article, leaving here only the botanical material that is common to all those species. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 23:01, 20 September 2014 (UTC)[]

I have moved the Viscum album specific material as above. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 01:44, 21 September 2014 (UTC)[]
I have also moved the comments specific to V. album and P. leucarpum to their respective articles. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 02:49, 21 September 2014 (UTC)[]

Identification of species in the gallery[edit]

The galery images shoudl identify the species. Only the first one seems to be Viscum album. --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 01:45, 21 September 2014 (UTC)[]

The first image in the article states that the host is silver birch (as does the image title), however that is not a silver birch. Birches have transverse rather than vertical bark markings. More likely that is a species of Populus, possibly aspen. Plantsurfer 14:31, 3 January 2017 (UTC)[]

Inappropriate sentence[edit]

What does this sentence mean?

"Their parasitic lifestyle has led to some dramatic changes in their metabolism.[1]"

"Lifestyle" is inappropriate when speaking of a plant, or anything other than a human.

Although I’d agree that in scientific or technical discourse it would be inappropriate to use the term ‘lifestyle’ to describe a plant, it is overwhelming common to use such terms in everyday language — such and such a plant prefers a sunny well drained site (the plant clearly doesn’t, literally, prefer anything). However this entire sentence doesn’t sit well—the reference refers to a study on single species of over a thousand, this species does not particularly well represent the parasitic biology of most mistletoes, and even so I’m not sure that we can say parasitism has led to metabolic changes. I recommend we remove the statement from the entry. Itisonly4me (talk) 22:41, 10 May 2021 (UTC)[]