Mistletoe Theft Threatens Kissing Crisis
LONDON An outbreak of opportunistic mistletoe rustling is threatening a Christmas kissing crisis, British environmental experts said on Wednesday.
The Wildlife Trusts said over-harvesting of the plant that only grows in the wild and is mainly found on old apple trees meant it was becoming increasingly rare.
"Mistletoe is being taken in increasingly large quantities from orchards, hedgerows and ancient trees to be sold at markets to Christmas shoppers," said The Wildlife Trusts -- a partnership of 47 British wildlife organisations.
"There are cases of mistletoe rustling, and once the whole plant has been removed from its host tree it won't grow back."
The parasitic green plant with white berries has been associated with fertility since the time of the ancient Druids and kissing under the mistletoe has long been a Christmas party tradition.