Mistletoe! It’s a festive & freaky parasite.


Mistletoe is in love potions, ancient medicines to ward off ulcers and even a Justin Bieber Christmas song. But why are so many people throughout the ages fascinated by the mystery and magic of these paradoxical parasites?


Listen to the latest Branch Out podcast from the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and you’ll see that kissing under the mistletoe is the least interesting story about this bizarre group of parasitic plants.


To most people's surprise, our merry mistletoe is actually a parasite that grows on the branches or roots of other plants to steal nutrients and water. The bizarre adaptation started in Australia too – the true home of mistletoe with about 90 different sap-sucking species. 

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Vanessa Fuchs

Science Communications Officer


Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands

M 0438 892 594

E vanessa.fuchs@bgcp.nsw.gov.au               

Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney NSW 2000



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