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Does Mistletoe Have Any Place In Permaculture?

 
Posts: 151
Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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...or is it just a bad apple all the way around? I'm sure God made it for a reason... Anybody?
 
gardener
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Mistletoe is very prominent in European anti-cancer treatments. It has proven to be quite effective, but this is one where you really need to be absolutely careful. IMO , DIY doesn't work here unless you are a qualified lab scientist or health professional because the level proves the poison in mistletoe. The problem is that American doctors don't want to use it because it doesn't have the guaranteed patented economic profits of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, although it is probably much cheaper and much more effective. I think it's the European version that is used.
JohnS
PDX OR
 
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I've heard of poisoning dangers of mistletoe, but I also know that deer in my area eat it with much enthusiasm, it's an important food source for wildlife in this region. I'm not smart enough to know how to incorporate it into your permaculture plan, but that's what I know about mistletoe.
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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In the worst case scenario, the biodiversity of a forest with mistletoe growing in it is greater (by at least one species) than a forest without.

In the real world, mistletoe produces pollen, nectar, and seeds which feed birds, animals, and microbes, perhaps at different times of the year than the host plant. That leads to a vast improvement in biodiversity because with mistetoe in a forest it's easier for many more species to find food and avoid starving. The wood eating fungi don't care if a dead-fall was a parasite. Biomass is biomass regardless of the mechanism by which it was created.

The snags produced by mistletoe are very useful for shelter and nesting by insects, birds, and mammals. Again leading to increased biodiversity.

Birds attracted to mistletoe berries or nesting sites leave manure behind, thus increasing the fertility around the host tree.
 
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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It is a very important indicator of overall ecosystem health. Birds nest in it and they eat the berries.

One of my customers has hundreds of clumps in a large, messy grove of plums. I asked her if they pick them all. They don't, so it was decided to do nothing. She prefers to have the wildlife.
 
Dean Howard
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Location: NE ARIZONA, Zone 5B, 7K feet, 24" rain
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WOW, thanks everyone... I really had no idea. Here in NE Arizona, it tends to be found in nearly every juniper tree. I'm dropping and chopping lots of branches and wondered if I should be keeping the mistletoe or getting rid of it. Great news on the cancer front, too.
 
pollinator
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Here's an interesting use of mistletoe - for a grappa infusion
 
pollinator
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Mistletoe is used in traditional christmas decorations here in the UK. For people who don't have access to land with mistletoe to harvest, it is sold in the lead up to christmas at what seems like an extortionate price. If I had a plum orchard with lots of mistletoe I'd be viewing it is a possible income stream.
 
master pollinator
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Kids used to climb up in the trees and harvest mistletoe to sell at Christmas time.  Probably not too many places where kids do that anymore.  Do they even climb trees these days? (I was never a good tree climber but my sister was a monkey!)
 
pollinator
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Herbalist Michael Castleman writes, that mistletoe toxicity is way overstated, and recommends 5 drops of homemade tincture to regulate blood pressure and help the heart. I actually was able to find some a few days ago in our farmers market sold as decorations (from the pomegranate tree), so I got a few sprigs and making some tincture. I tasted a leaf, and it is a bit sour. How much I understand, berries have the most alkaloids. Single drop amounts of tincture made from twigs and leaves are okay. People have used mistletoe medicinally for thousands of years.
 
Joy Oasis
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Tracy Kuykendall wrote:I've heard of poisoning dangers of mistletoe, but I also know that deer in my area eat it with much enthusiasm, it's an important food source for wildlife in this region. I'm not smart enough to know how to incorporate it into your permaculture plan, but that's what I know about mistletoe.


This is very interesting, that deer eats it. Do you think they eat it only in small amounts as a medicine or as food?
 
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Normally, I'm not really a fan of parasites, but it seems to me that I used to see goats up in trees, eating mistletoe back when I lived on the res, years ago.

Best use, as mentioned above in the thread, is probably to pick it and sell it to drunken, horny tourists who can use it to have an excuse to kiss people.

 
gardener
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So,  how hard is make a dart it arrow out of the stuff?
I might have a use for such thing....
 
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