It’s pretty common in the south.
And especially popular around the holiday season.
But did you know mistletoe also grows in West Virginia?
Although it’s not as common here, some spots have their fair share of this well-known evergreen, parasitic plant with familiar white berries.
Kanawha resident Patty Moles sees it where she lives.
She’s also seen it in trees in Fayette and Putnam counties.
“Putnam County along the river down below Poca. Fayette County has a lot growing along Route 60 in Falls View and Charlton Heights.
“You are most likely to find it growing high in the trees near the river,” she said.
Birds eat the berries and spread them in excrement.
In Old English, “mistletoe” means “dung on a twig” since the plant sprouts from bird droppings.
Others posted on the West Virginia Native Plants Facebook page about having seen it too.
One man recalled it growing in silver maples along the Ohio River in Mason and Cabell counties.
Another recalled seeing it as a youngster near a place known as “Mistletoe Swamp” near Charleston.
Trees without leaves make it easier to spot.
“Down in the Boomer area (Fayette County) there’s tons of it, only thing is that it’s in really tall trees. Pretty to look at though,” another man agreed.
It’s also easier this time of year to harvest it, according to a Logan County resident.
“In Logan County you can walk around up close to any ridgeline, and see it growing in clusters in oak trees.
Just need a shotgun to harvest it. That makes it easier to hang up a sprig, then grab a kiss underneath it.”
This tradition isn’t new in the southeastern United States.
It’s common practice to shoot it down from the tree tops.
Mistletoe has been around for centuries, and has earned a place in history and folklore.
Want to know more?
Here are 11 fun mistletoe facts:
1. For centuries it was believed to increase life and fertility since it remained green when other plants died.
2. In ancient times, visitors would kiss the hand of a host under it.
3. Celtic Druids believed that it contained the spirit of the tree in which it grew.
4. Ancient Druids also thought it possessed mystical powers that would bring good luck into a household, and ward off evil spirits.
5. In Scandinavia, it was considered a plant of peace under which enemies could declare a truce, or basically kiss and makeup.