What is misseltoe worth?

Mike Hagen mhagen at olympus.net
Sat Nov 6 13:03:10 EST 1999

Traditionally, the mistletoe which grows on oaks is the one gathered.
(from old Norse myths and such) Shooting the sprigs off sounds sort of
fun but may spread the sticky seed.  Control in conifer is pretty much a
matter of sanitation harvests- you remove the taller infested trees and
try to thin to a healthy stand.  

truffler1635 at my-deja.com wrote:
> A phone call today from a friend has me thinking about another forest
> product which is seldom considered as having economic value, but
> obviously does. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant. It is often used in
> small packages of perhaps .25-.5 ounce near Christmas for hanging about
> the house. A lot of people like looking at this white "berries", but I
> believe both the plant and berries are poisonous. (Anyone sure about
> this?) I have a lot of it on my family's property. It is usually spread
> by birds, who eat the berries then defecate on other tree branches. The
> seeds sprout, penetrating the wood, and start to sap nutrients from the
> host tree.
> I've seen masses of mistletoe which probably weigh several pounds each
> in older Oregon White oak stands. Assuming I wanted to harvest some, is
> there an easier method than shooting it out of the tree with a .22? I
> don't have any pole pruner that will reach anywhere near the 30-70 feet
> I typically find it in trees, and I usually have to wait until the first
> frost to see the plants well. Unless you are a crack shot, this harvest
> method seems kind of expensive, too.
> Locally, Oregon White oak has value as shiitake bedlogs (logs which
> mushrooms are cultivated on), firewood, some timber, wood to create
> barrels for aging wine, mast for animals, and an important source of
> food for wild turkeys, deer, elk, ravens, crows, and possibly pheasants.
> If mistletoe is harvested, what is a reasonable price for it? How much
> should harvesters charge? What is the typical harvest method? How much
> can be harvested in a day? Any information from people who have actually
> commercial harvested the plant are appreciated.
> From Gilkey-Dennis' "Handbook of Northwest Plants" (c. 1967) there
> appear to be several species in the PNW:
> Arceuthobium americanum Nutt., parasitic on lodgepole pine (Pinus
> contorta); and sometimes on Knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata).
> A. campylopodum Engelm., parasitic on western yellow pine (P.
> ponderosa); and sometimes on Knobcone pine.
> A. abietinum Engelm. on true fir (Abies)
> A. tsugensis Rosendahl on hemlock (Tsuga)
> A. douglasii Engelm. on Douglas fir (Pesudotsuga menziesii)
> Phorandendron villosum Nutt. Common mistletoe. Plant shrubby, sometimes
> becoming 1 m. or more in diameter on the branches of the host...Common
> on oak in our limits.
> Of these species, I've also seen two: A. abietinum (uneconomic in my
> opinion) and P. villosum, which is often on Oregon White oak (Quercus
> garryana).
> Daniel B. Wheeler
> www.oregonwhitetruffles.com
> Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> Before you buy.

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