24 DECEMBER 1948, Page 17

Mistletoe Hosts One of the imports that come to a

climax at Christmas is mistletoe, which, in general, is not as common in England as one might expect or perhaps as it used to be when the Druids found it even on oaks. It is quite easily planted on trees, and experiments have been made in its preferences. Mr. Eric Parker, for example, records (in a brief note in the Countryman) how it failed on the lime and flourished—in this order of success—on crab-apple and mountain ash. I have seen it on those rare hosts, the oak and a standard rose, and though doubtless it has a special fondness for the apple, I should say that its favourite host is the black poplar. In the Aisne district of France (from where some of the imported bushes come) some of the roadsides and little groves look like crowded rookeries. In the villages the poplars, much the commonest trees, are shorn for their winter fuel as well as their harvest of mistletoe. The poplar groves play the part of peat in Ireland, though of all woods poplar is one of the very worst for burning. It either refuses to burn or, if very dry, burns too quickly with little heat.