Pliny is also our authority for the reverence in which the mistletoe when found growing on the robur was held by the Druids.
The mistletoe figures also in Scandinavian legend as having furnished the material of the arrow with which Balder (the sun-god) was slain by the blind god Hoder.
The mistletoe so extensively used in England at Christmas is largely derived from the apple orchards of Normandy; a quantity is also sent from the apple orchards of Herefordshire.
In view of the fact that the oak was the sun-god's tree and that the mistletoe grew upon it, it is suggested by A.
Bonnier has drawn attention to the fact that the mistletoe in its turn, remaining green in the winter, contributes food material to its host when the latter has lost its leaves.
The mistletoe is parasitic both on deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.
According to this writer the Druids held the mistletoe in the highest veneration.
The whole genus is parasitical, and contains about twenty species, widely distributed in the warmer parts of the old world; but only the mistletoe proper is a native of Europe.
When thus found, the mistletoe was cut with a golden knife by a priest clad in a white robe, two white bulls being sacrificed on the spot.
Witches-brooms are the tufted bunches of twigs found on silver firs, birches and other trees, and often present resemblances to birds nests or clumps of mistletoe if only seen from a distance.