Friday, March 28, 2014

On desert mistletoe

My trees have had mistletoe ever since I had to trim some of my trees for the neighbors…only to find out that my ex-husband had more of an issue with 'bothering the neighbors' than the neighbors did, sigh.

But I've worried and fretted over it killing the trees, because everyone knows that mistletoe kills the trees. Except, well…everyone is wrong.

Here is a desert specific article on mistletoe and it's role in the Sonoran desert. I highly recommend it! Because aside from the 'doesn't really kill off plants immediately,' the berries from it attract birds, and any mistletoe you do take off the tree can be used as mulch for your garden! (sorry, this link looks defunct now.)

There is another fact about desert mistletoe (Phoradendron californium) that I was rather excited to here: in the Sonoran Desert, sometimes it's edible! Most mistletoe is poisonous, so I never even thought to check. Because we KNOW mistletoe is poisonous, right?

But in the Sonoran desert, if our local mistletoe is growing on mesquite, ironwood, or catclaw acacia, the berries are not only edible, they are actually pretty tasty too! If they grow on other plants, though, they are not considered edible. Fair warning.

Something fun to check out and ID in your yard if you, too, like to eat what's in your yard. Especially if you didn't have to take care of it to get it there!

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