Today’s blog is a link to Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog which does what it says. Jeff’s post is a seasonal one about holly and mistletoe. It begins:
“Each year I’ve always added at least one Christmas-themed biodiversity post to the blog, for example: Thank the insects for Christmas, A Christmas vignette, and Six Kingdoms for Christmas. That’s partly because I really like Christmas as a winter festival, with its folklore and customs. But it’s also because these are a great vehicle to demonstrate how pervasive and important is natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides to society.
This year I’ve gone one stage further and actually published some Christmassy research to back up the blog post. Now, in a new study published in the Journal of Pollination Ecology, we have shown how important insect pollinators are in determining the market value of two of the most emblematic of Christmas plants: holly (Ilex aquifolium) and mistletoe (Viscum album).
It ends with a bit of John Clare from The Shepherd’s Calendar (1827):
The shepherd, now no more afraid,
Since custom doth the chance bestow,
Starts up to kiss the giggling maid
Beneath the branch of mistletoe
That ‘neath each cottage beam is seen,
With pearl-like berries shining gay;
The shadow still of what hath been,
Which fashion yearly fades away.