No! that mistletoe isn’t dying, its Golden Mistletoe!
As far as my research shows, certain types of Mistletoe go a ‘yellowish’ colour this time of year. As far as we know, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s perfectly healthy, the leaves are just as thick and strong, if not stronger! However, with it’s perception as being less attractive, it doesn’t get the demand it deserves.
This Mistletoe was found in my own garden. To be specific, it’s called Viscum Album. We have an Apple tree which has grown two separate bunches. At this time of year, when all the leaves fall and all that remains is the two bunches of Mistletoe. The one bunch grows a prolific amount of white berries, the other bunch has no berries.
Mistletoe with no berries is usually the male plant, whereas it’s the female plant that often most bears the berries.
Below is a picture of some ‘normal’ mistletoe with berries.
Male Mistletoe doesn’t grow berries. Therefore it doesn’t often get cut and sold for Christmas. Female Mistletoe sometimes doesn’t grow berries, but they are generally the ones you see being sold. Without that green colour and berries, there’s little demand for it so wholesalers rarely sell it.
Male mistletoe tends to go yellow more often than female.
Why does it go yellow?
Northern European Mistletoe tends to go yellow this time of year. To the extent of our knowledge, this is not because the Mistletoe is unhealthy. There may be various minor reasons that could cause the yellowing in colour, but any one reason cannot yet be confirmed.
Not to be confused with Alepis Flavida.
When talking about Yellow Mistletoe, there is this New Zealand variety.
Alepis flavida (or ‘yellow mistletoe’) is easily differentiated by its smaller, yellow-orange flowers. It also tends to grow on branches further out from the host trunk, and its leaves have a faint red margin. Yellow mistletoe is the most host-specific mistletoe species in New Zealand, nearly always growing on mountain beech.
In essence, only the most prolific Mistletoe gets sold because it’s the greenest and has lovely berries. Remind you of how a certain sex gets portrayed in the media? Let’s stop this ‘Mistletoe-ism’ and buy Golden Mistletoe this Christmas.