Mistletoe has an air of Christmas magic, but it is, in fact, a parasite with a fascinating relationship with trees. European mistletoe (Viscum album) grows in green clumps on various trees across the UK, especially noticeable in winter once trees have lost their leaves. While mistletoe can sometimes harm the trees it grows on, it can also benefit other species, like winter birds that eat its berries.
Mistletoe is thought to be spreading in the UK, but we don’t know where and why. Exciting new research aims to gather data and forecast the future of this intriguing and important plant.