Mistletoe and the law

By | 24 December 2014

Mistletoe seems an unlikely candidate for falling foul of the law but it has happened.

I’m not going to venture into office parties as that has already been covered earlier in the blog.

The recognised way for harvesting mistletoe in the rural areas in America, most commonly, seems to be with a shotgun. There are also mistletoe shooting parties when friends get together to harvest it for Christmas. In 2011 a Georgia man was arrested on a charge of reckless conduct and illegally firing a firearm when he decided to harvest some mistletoe near a shopping centre in Georgia. William Robinson said he had used a shotgun many times to harvest mistletoe but usually in the wilderness and not in mall car parks. He was surprised at being arrested as he was only trying to collect enough to take to a holiday party. He spent the night in jail but was released in time to make the holiday party but without the mistletoe. (from abc news)


Mistletoe – Viscum Album By flickr: Hornet Photography 2014 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Still in America but this time Portland Oregon an eleven year old girl collected some mistletoe, bagged it and decided to sell it to help towards the cost of braces for her teeth. She set up in the park while the Saturday market was on to sell her few bags of mistletoe. She was banned from selling it because a city code prevented it, as she was not a member of the market association. The city code did though allow begging, pan-handling, singing, and protesting. She was invited by the Saturday Market to become a member so she could legally sell her bags of mistletoe. (from KATU news)

Changing continents to Europe there was in France a policy that was legally enforced for orchard owners to cut out mistletoe every year. The legal framework for this still exists and in 2000 legislation was passed that allows the local prefecture to issue mistletoe management orders if it is deemed necessary. In Britain no such legislation exists and it is up to the individual orchard owners whether they do or don’t. (from mistletoe.typepad.com/)