Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Mistletoe in the Rea Valley

From Kings Heath Park
Throughout the Rea Valley, Mistletoe can be seen at Kings Heath Park (Lime on Vicarage Road), Highbury Park (Poplar), Moor Green Lane (Robinia), near Holders Pavilion (Rowan) and within the grounds of St Edwards RC School at Greenlands Road (Poplar TBC), Selly Park; a Willow host on the banks of the Rea collapsed a couple of years ago, the cluster disappeared within days.

However the Flora for Birmingham and the Black Country,  suggests that "Atmospheric pollution possibly contributes to the scarcity of this species in B&BC....", although the plant is possibly under recorded, Mistletoe seems to be increasingly present throughout the Rea Valley,  the tree lined corridor may filter air pollution more effectively.  - this sprig was taken from a broken cluster at Kings Heath Park

1900 postcard
This cluster is on a Robinia at Moor Green Lane
Richard Mabey's Flora Britannica informs us that Mistletoe is one of the "last surviving remnants of plant magic" and there is a sense of titilation at this time of year whence a sprig of this plant is presented.

Its botanical name Viscum album suggests 'sticky and white' in reference to the berries.

The Mistletoe's rather odd winter-flourishing appearance is most noticeable when the tree leaves are absent, and although considered partly parasitic (hemiparasitic) on its host, the process of photosynthesis continues whilst the tree is dormant.

Structure and form (Wiki)
A festive occasion under the Mistletoe (Wiki)
There are a variety of host trees including Lime, Apple, Poplar and Rowan in our region, but up to 200 species have been reported (source unknown). The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs.
outside the Mac at Cannon Hill



4 comments:

  1. Also on Lime sp. in Highbury Park!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cheers Terry, I may be mistaken in saying Poplar

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dorothy Blore Our neighbour's apple tree is covered, the branches are touching our ancient apple but we have yet to have our own supply. Come on birds poop and wipe on my tree.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · December 24 at 12:15pm
    Alf Dimmock
    Alf Dimmock what area Dot?
    Like · Reply · December 25 at 8:49am
    Dorothy Blore
    Dorothy Blore Watford Road Cotteridge. Can see 2 lots in a tree (poplar?) in Cotteridge park from our kitchen window.

    Alf Dimmock many thanks Dot- I'm making a list for EcoRecord

    ReplyDelete