Mistletoe is a regular, and popular, feature of written, broadcast and online media every winter season. Common themes include the state of the this year's crop, concerns over long-term supplies (especially with the continuing loss of apple orchard mistletoe habitat), the Tenbury Wells mistletoe auctions and, of course, the origin of that kissing custom. The detail, and the accuracy, of the media stories varies, er, considerably.
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Jonathan Briggs has been fielding mistletoe enquiries from the press, tv and radio for 20 years, beginning with the attention paid to National Mistletoe Survey he ran for Plantlife and the BSBI back in 1993-5. He also has extensive media experience from other work.
Apart from the usual questions about this year's crop, and the ongoing impact of orchard loss, the most frequent question each season is 'what's the story on mistletoe this year?' The answer does, actually, vary from year to year, though there are common themes, mostly relating to conservation issues and sustainability of harvesting.
One ongoing story is the Mistletoe League project, a set of long-term surveys gathering information on mistletoe management on fruit trees and looking into how mistletoe survival varies on different apple varieties.
Some news releases from current and previous saesons are available below to provide some context.
Jonathan is available for interview and contributions each season - some notes on his availability are outlined below.
We are also developing a mistletoe picture library for media use (at commercial rates), developing a project first begun a few years ago.