News 12’s Brian Donohue goes on the hunt for some mistletoe

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The holiday season is upon the Garden State and many New Jerseyans may be hanging mistletoe up in their homes.

But what many may not know is that southern New Jersey is the northernmost range of wild mistletoe in North America.

So, News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue went out into the woods of South Jersey with Joe Arsenault, a botanist with the Flora of New Jersey Project, to see if they could find some.

Arsenault says that mistletoe grows high up in the trees.

“Where that's growing is where birds ate their dinner that had mistletoe in it and relieved themselves on the end of the branches and there you see it coming out,” he says. “So that's the mystery of mistletoe, was the appearance of this on the end of branches after birds had dropped their, their whatever.”

There is a long tradition in New Jersey of people gathering mistletoe to take home or to sell as a holiday decoration. For many generations, the main way that people got mistletoe was for hunters to shoot it down.

People don’t tend to shoot at mistletoe in 2019. Donohue did try to pull some down with his fishing rod – but was unsuccessful.

And Arsenault says that most people do not even use fresh mistletoe any longer.

“Most of the mistletoe has been taken over by plastic mistletoe that's available in Christmas stores,” he says.

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