A French Mistletoe Seller, as depicted in the Illustrated London News in the 19th century

Buying and selling mistletoe is a most peculiar business.  The plant is a parasite of trees, which will cause serious damage if left to grow unchecked – and yet it has a long history of practical use and is considerable demand at Christmas.  It may be a pest but it is but an interesting and useful pest!

But it is not often a commercially successful product. The time needed to harvest, sort and select the best mistletoe at Christmas hardly covers the price that can be charged, so the mistletoe business has never been particularly profitable!

Much of it is a minor sideline for landowners with mistletoe – with the income merely subsidising the costs of control.

But it is a fascinating business nevertheless, and mistletoe remains in high demand, particularly in areas outside its natural range, so there is a lot of satisfaction for suppliers in meeting expectation.

This part of the site discusses some aspects of supply and use, including the obvious Christmas usage but also touching on medicinal uses (ancient and modern) and other traditional use.

The trade discussed here is primarily from a British point of view – covering trade in home-grown, mainly English, mistletoe, and the imports from continental Europe. To read more please click on one of the links below: