/ˈmɪs əlˌtoʊ/ mis–uh l-toh]
- a European plant, Viscum album, having yellowish flowersand white berries, growing parasitically on various trees, used in Christmas decorations.
- any of several other related, similar plants, as Phoradendron serotinum, of the U.S.: the state flower of Oklahoma.
Origin: bef. 1000; ME mistelto, appar. back formation from OE misteltān ( mistel mistletoe, basil + tān twig), the -n being taken as pl. ending; c. ON mistilteinn
Mistletoe is an interesting little plant, well above and beyond its contributing force for romance. Mistletoe is in fact a parasite which means it grows on a host tree and uses said tree for water and mineral nutrients. Furthermore, the plant begins its cohabitation by sprouting from bird droppings on said tree taking its nutrients from that source. Quite the enterprising little plant.
Mistletoe also killed off the Norse god Baldr is killed by his brother by way of a mistletoe projectile. Pliny the Elder of the Celts considered it a remedy for barrenness and an antidote to poison.
Of course we know it as a Christmas decoration though such use was not widely known until the 18th century. At first it was considered the first fire alarm, guarding your house from lightning or fire, to be replaced every Christmas Eve. Moving on to bringing any two people who meet under a sprig of mistletoe to kiss was described as early as 1820 by Washington Irving. Accordingly, a berry is plucked each time a kiss is exchanged and when all the berries are gone, no more kissing. Mistletoe also happens to be the state flower of the state of Oklahoma. Who knew?
So the next time you pass through a doorway and see a sprig of mistletoe lurking there you will know that it’s not just about kissing.
Grammar Punk Sentence: S E 4 Mistletoe
Hands on hips, Junie viewed the room with satisfaction; every doorjamb festooned with sprigs of mistletoe ensured she would not go unkissed this Christmas.
All of you teachers of English, grammar, and writing, challenge your students to write a sentence containing the word mistletoe and contains at least four words with the letters S and E. The rest of you can write one too. And share!