News

Mistletoe: Poisonous plant becomes Christmas tradition

Mistletoe: Poisonous plant becomes Christmas tradition

GOOD TIDINGS: Mistletoe is a centuries-old Christmas tradition. Photo: Associated Press/Allen Breed

It’s sort of a strange custom — kissing or embracing someone while standing beneath the leaves of a parasitic plant.

But it dates back centuries.

The practice of greeting someone while stationed under a sprig of mistletoe is thought to date back to ancient Britain.

Two hundred years before Christ’s birth, the Druids celebrated the start of winter by gathering mistletoe and hanging the plant in their homes to ensure a good start to the year.

Visitors often found themselves embraced under the waxy, green leaves and the white berries.

Scandinavian lore has it that the god of light and spring was slain by mistletoe, and his mother declared that it never again be used for evil. Her tears are said to have formed the white mistletoe berries.

Horticulturists point out mistletoe is a parasite, depending on a host tree for the water and minerals it needs to survive.

And experts warn you should be especially careful when decorating with mistletoe, especially when children are present. That’s because the berries are quite poisonous and can result in rashes, nausea or vomiting when ingested.

And it goes without saying what an adverse reaction one might get if caught under the mistletoe with the wrong person.

What's On 'KLH?

Make Your Bowl Game Picks!

CollegeBowlGame_Challenge2014_int_wp

Make your college bowl game picks for a chance to win a $250 Dickey’s gift card!

Hire Me MKE

HireMeMKE_620x400

Looking for a job around the Milwaukee area? Check out some openings>>

Wanna Play DJ?

HEYMOM

You can host your own show Sunday night at 6 on ‘KLH!

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘The Gambler’ remake turns toward redemption

Mark Wahlberg appears in a scene from "The Gambler."

A different Mark Wahlberg is on view from the scrappy, uninhibited characters he has traditionally played.

in Entertainment

‘Into the Woods’ goes darkly beyond happy ever after

intothewoods

Wishes are granted, dreams come true, and Cinderella is rescued by her prince, but it is not all happily ever after.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Dec. 25

deanmartin

A look back at some of the most memorable Hollywood headlines.