Study says mistletoe is not in danger of dwindling
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Monday 20 December 1999
A semi-parasite which favours apple trees as hosts, it was thought to be under threat because of the grubbing up of orchards. In fact it is on the increase, says the survey, conducted by Plantlife, the wild-plant conservation charity, and the Botanical Society of the British Isles.
The study found it distributed in a pattern similar to that in a 1970 survey - concentrated in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with a broad scattering of sites across southern England, but few in Wales, the North or Scotland. Overall, there were more sightings than 30 years ago.
"Our aim was to see whether mistletoe had declined due to the loss of apple orchards but this does not appear to be the case and our fears for the future of this mystical, symbolic plant seem to have been unfounded," said Jonathan Briggs, who co-ordinated the survey and wrote the report.
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