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Penshurst Place is helping to preserve an ancient Christmas tradition

Discussion in 'Penshurst' started by Penshurst, Dec 18, 2010. Replies: 0 | Views: 1141

  1. Penshurst

    Penshurst New Member

    Mistletoe is forested at Penshurst Place estate

    A historic country house is helping to keep the ancient tradition of kisses under mistletoe branches alive.
    Conservationists this week warned that the future of the festive practice is being threatened by declining stocks of English mistletoe.
    Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on domestic apple trees, but also on poplar and hawthorn trees.
    There has been a 90 per cent decline in apple orchards in Devon and Kent, and a 60 per cent reduction in the "cider country" of Somerset, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and Worcestershire since the 1950s.
    Peter Brash, an ecologist for the National Trust, has warned that this loss of habitat for mistletoe could threaten the festive tradition.
    But mistletoe is thriving on the estate of Penshurst Place, and is sold through its gift shop and donated to local charities.
    A spokeswoman for the estate said:
    Jonathan Briggs, a mistletoe expert who works for the National Trust, said it will prove difficult to reverse the decline of apple orchards, but he urged anyone with apple trees in their back garden to grow their own mistletoe to keep the Christmas tradition alive.
    The custom of kissing under mistletoe originated in ancient fertility rituals. The tradition caught on in Britain in the 19th century and has been popular for the last two centuries.

    KOS Media News

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