- Green medicine 5. Dangerous for kids
- Meeting celebrities 6. Different varieties
- Magic powers 7. Surviving at the expense of the others
- Good for some, not for others 8. The meaning of the name
A. Mistletoe is the name of a round-shaped plant that is naturally found on old willow and apple trees. It attaches to the tree, spreads its roots under the tree bark and goes up its branches. This is how mistletoe gets water and all the ingredients that are necessary for its growth from the trees it lives on. Mistletoe – омела, вечнозелёное кустарниковое растение.
B. Mistletoe in Europe is a popular Christmas decoration. The tradition of hanging it in the house dates back to the ancient times. According to mythology, the plant brings good luck to the household and defends it from evil spirits. It also makes love and friendship stronger, which led to the custom of kissing under it.
C. All kinds of mistletoes have oval, evergreen narrow leaves. In south-western Europe they can be found with white or cream berries that grow in groups of two or six. Mistletoes growing in the north of Europe, however, are very much alike, but have coloured berries. Regardless of colour, each berry has only one seed.
D. Birds like mistletoe berries very much. They carry the seeds long distances which helps the plant find new trees to live on. Mistletoe can be toxic to people, but its berries and leaves provide high-protein nutrition for many animals. A lot of bird species eat mistletoe berries and use its stem as nesting material. The nectar of the plant is drunk by butterflies and bees.
E. For centuries, mistletoe has had a reputation as a nearly all-purpose herbal remedy. Mistletoe is used to treat nervous disorders, heart tonic, asthma, arthritis and other diseases. It is also used as a folk remedy for cancer. Scientists have proved that the extract of the mistletoe plant stimulates the immune system and kills cancer cells.
F. All parents want their sons and daughters always to be safe. However, during the Christmas holidays risks can creep up where parents least expect them. Be careful with holiday plants! Try to keep mistletoe out of reach of a child. If eaten, mistletoe can cause severe stomach pain and can even be fatal. It doesn’t take much – just three mistletoe berries can be toxic to a little child.
G. Lately most foreign stars and TV hosts have used mistletoe at charitable Christmas auctions. The opportunity to kiss a musician or a famous politician under the mistletoe costs as much as an expensive car. Nevertheless, the shows attract many people who are ready to pay big sums of money for charity.