Somerset Mistletoe Survey December 2020-March 2021

Mistletoe near North Petherton Church photo: SJP

Mistletoe (Viscum album) is an easy species to spot in mid-winter when most of the host trees are bare, so it’s an ideal plant to be searching for in our home patches during the Covid19 restrictions. As you see from the Map of Previous Sightings, it is possible to detect particular hot-spots in Somerset. Undoubtedly there are some areas where it does not grow. However, more records are needed especially in the areas where it seems to be absent. We are in a new date-class (post 2020) so the aim is to record as many locations as possible and to update our map.

You can fill in the form below or send your records to the general email or direct to Linda Everton or Christine Loudon. Even if you are not using the form, it would help if you base your answers on the questions in it. If you are submitting lots of records you might find it easier to fill in and email an Excel spreadsheet which you can request from Chris or Linda.

If you don’t know the host tree, it doesn’t matter. However, if you are sending a photo, one showing the bark or buds would be useful for identification as well as a general shot.

These records will update a Survey Map (see below) compiled by Tony Price.

There will be a ** PRIZE ** for the first person to provide evidence of Mistletoe growing on Oak. Details below.

Online Form2020-21 Survey Map
Mistletoe map
Historic Map, Pre 2020
Extra Details
It is important to record the basic information – who, what, when and where, but we would like other important information such as host tree, abundance, associated fauna (birds and invertebrates) and any other details to give us a better idea of the life and distribution of Mistletoe in Somerset. Mistletoe doesn’t seem to like the coast or the higher parts of Exmoor, so records from those areas are especially welcome.
Oak as a Mistletoe host is very rare, so keep a special eye open for that – there will be a prize for the first member who can record and provide photographic evidence for Mistletoe growing on Oak in our county this winter! And an honorable mention at the very least for all such records.
Exmoor Magazine extract by Rosemary FitzGerald
By kind permission of Exmoor Magazine you can read their article here. If you would like a copy of this issue it is available in local shops across the area or on the magazine website – www.exmoormagazine.co.uk – where you can also subscribe

Do look at the excellent mistletoe.org.uk for much more information about this fascinating plant species.

Male Blackcap. Beautiful, isn’t he? He may have something to do with the change in Mistletoe distrbution.

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