The tree has been trimmed, the presents have been placed beneath it and chestnuts are roasting on an open fire as you relax and sip eggnog. But one item seems to be missing from the holiday scenario this season: a traditional branch of mistletoe hanging in the doorway.
A massive drought in Texas is no doubt a major contributing factor in the mistletoe shortage this year.
The Texas drought has been described as one of the most crippling in the state’s history. Throughout October, parts of the Lone Star state, along with Oklahoma and Louisiana, experienced 50 to 70 percent “exceptional drought,” which is the worst form.
This has caused much of this year’s mistletoe — a hemi-parasitic plant that grows on a wide range of host trees – to look weak and colorless. A higher price tag for the plants, coupled with dire economic times has led many to pass on this traditional holiday symbol.
Gardel Prudent of Gardel’s Greene Garden told The New York Times that it would have cost approximately $5 for a finger-size sprig, and that the profit margin is so thin that it’s not worth selling. He did not order any mistletoe this year, he said.
Still, many florists said that despite the steep price, demand for the specialty plant is just not what it used to be.
Perhaps the kissing under the mistletoe custom — which originated in Scandinavia – has become dated and will soon become history.
“It does seem to be fading out,” said longtime florist Georgeann Strakosch of Big Apple Florist in New York. “Even when I was at a place that had it we didn’t sell it much.
“They don’t move very quickly,” Strakosch continued. “I don’t get a lot of requests, maybe two calls a year.” Strakosch no longer stocks mistletoe, and she’s not the only one.
“I stopped selling it a couple of years ago. I don’t get a big call for it,” Lee Herman of Palace Florists in Washington, D.C. told ABC News. “The wholesale isn’t that expensive, but to throw out a bunch of boxes is. It’s Dec. 22, and I’ve only gotten one call for it.”
“I think it’s losing its story, fading out a little,” a clerk at Ballard Blossom Inc. in Seattle told ABC News. “We don’t carry it. … Two people have asked for it out of hundreds we help each day.”