• Mistletoe Oak

    In my recent book, The British Oak, I came to the conclusion that there were no longer any native oaks to be found in Britain bearing mistletoe. A conclusion, I now discover, to be incorrect. None of the recent books on trees or my rich and varied array of tree expert contacts could shed any light on oaks with mistletoe. There were many historical references to this phenomenon; photographs of some of the Victorian finds showing top-hatted gents proudly standing beneath them, but nobody seemed to have relocated any of these trees in recent times. Unbeknown to me one J.D. Box had written a paper on the subject in 1997, and after some highly exhaustive research had located eleven oak trees still bearing mistletoe, seven of which were English oaks.

    Fellow tree buff David Griffith was recently in touch with me and kindly informed me that he had managed to locate one of the Herefordshire trees. Since I was passing nearby yesterday I walked down to see it. Not the most impressive oak I ever saw, but still a strange and beautiful sight to see, with one large clump of mistletoe at the top of the tree and two smaller, barely visible ones lower down. Estimated age of the tree is about 180-200 years old.

    I'm always excited to see something completely new and different and when one realises that there are only six other English oaks in the whole of Britain like this then it becomes even more remarkable.

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