Smithsonian takes a look at the history and biology of mistletoe.
“Yes, ecologically, they are cheats,” says Watson, a community ecologist at Charles Sturt University at Albury-Wodonga (Australia is home to nearly 100 mistletoe species). “People hear the ‘P’ word, they think parasite and they think they are all necessarily bad. But it’s an extremely loaded term.”
The bottom line: Mistletoes share their wealth. “They grab onto these nutrients, and then they drop them,” Watson says. “They’re like, ‘I’ve got all this good stuff, and now you can have it.’”
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