Video: Pucker up - mistletoe's in bloom!

PURSE strings may be tight this Christmas - but there could be more love in the air than usual after a bumper Mistletoe crop.

IT won't be lonely this Christmas - because there will be more love in the air after a bumper Mistletoe crop.

Suffolk garden centres say there are more berries on the plant this year due to the bad winter weather - meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for romance.

According to tradition, a berry is plucked every time a couple kiss under the mistletoe and the smooching only stops when there are none remaining.

The good harvest came after several cold and wet months which provided the ideal climate for mistletoe to grow quickly and healthily.

Nick Wilkinson, of www.Interrose.co.uk, a Suffolk-based company which sells mistletoe, said: “Mistletoe seems to be quite abundant. There is even some growing in Suffolk near Lowestoft, which is unusual.

“This year it is quite cheap and good quality. Last year the berries were very squishy but this year they are a bit juicier.”

Most Read

Alec Wall, of the Tenbury English Mistletoe Enterprise, organisers of Britain's only annual mistletoe festival, said: “There was an abundance of mistletoe at the auction this year so the price was lower.

“There are more berries than usual but also poor foliage. But hopefully it means people will be kissing more.”

Stephen Ellis, of B.H. Ellis and Sons in Holywells Close, Ipswich, sometimes buys French mistletoe for its superior quality, but this year he says he can buy better mistletoe in Britain while reducing his carbon footprint.

He said: “Mistletoe is actually a parasite and of course this year there have been ideal ground conditions, it has been very moist.

“We will get plenty of berries, but the weather means Holly will be in short supply, so you always get six of one, half a dozen of the other.”

But there are fears the increasing demand for mistletoe could threaten its future due to poor harvesting methods.

Only the female plants have berries and the males are often left on the trees. If the parasite is allowed to develop, it can end up killing the branch upon which it grows.

Do you join in the tradition of buying mistletoe? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IT was touching to see so many people sharing a kiss under the mistletoe in the town centre - but unfortunately I didn't have much luck.

Couples were more than eager to show their affection when they got the chance but I had to return to the office without a single lipstick mark on my cheek.

It seems that while mistletoe could bring lovebirds out of their shells, it didn't have the magic power of making me more attractive - although I'm quite happy not to be in demand!

SHOPPERS in Ipswich's Buttermarket shopping centre were certainly not shy of our offer to grab a quick peck under the mistletoe.

Thomas Hadley and Jenny Hiraiwa took full advantage of our festive sprig and the young couple happily puckered up for the camera.

Jenny said: “We have only been going out for a week - that's probably why we are still smiling!”

Anna Palmer, who gave her baby a kiss, said: “We are going to have some mistletoe on the door.

“We will have a lovely family Christmas at home this year but next year we are going to save up to go to Lapland.”

Mistletoe - Fact File

Mistletoe is a parasite which grows attached to the branches of trees and shrubs, particularly the apple tree

If eaten, Mistletoe is poisonous and can cause Diarrhoea, stomach pains and a low pulse

In Norse Mythology, the God Baldr was accidentally killed by an arrow made of mistletoe fired by his blind brother

The custom of kissing underneath the mistletoe originates from Scandinavia

In America, Mistletoe is the floral emblem for the state of Oklahoma