Appomattox Co., VA - Mistletoe is that magical plant meant for stealing a kiss this time of year. But how much do you know about where the tradition came from and where it grows?
Reporter Sally Delta found out, and she didn't have to go far from home to do it.
"This is the farm in Appomattox County where I grew up," said Sally, standing on her family's land in Appomattox County on Christmas morning. "After all those years I never knew that mistletoe was growing right over there," she said, pointing to a tree behind her. "Now, with the help of my family we're going to get it down."
Sally's dad, Steve Goin, has lived on the family's land for 57 years, but this is the first time he's shot down mistletoe with the family.
"How come you never showed us?" Sally asked her dad.
"It just never intrigued me," said Steve.
"I don't think I ever thought it was a real plant," said Cary Goin, Sally's sister.
So this year, the family got dad to show us how to do it. First, he got out the shotgun.
Sally's sister, Cary, happened to be pretty good at it. But there was a surprise when the mistletoe fell off the tree: it smelled funky. Lynchburg Extension Agent Kevin Camm explains.
Camm says mistletoe is a semi parasite, a plant that relies on another plant to live. In this case - an oak tree.
"It's at the top of the tree because birds fly over...they poop," said Camm. "The birds eat the berries and their waste keeps the 'plant of romance' alive.
"It's funny that this treasured thing that people kiss under during the holiday season is more often transferred by bird dung and that's how it gets its start," said Camm.
Even though it was a lot of fun shooting the mistle toe down, Camm suggests leaving it to the professionals and letting an arborist do it for you.