Very few plants ripen in winter, so, as an evergreen with white berries, mistletoe stood out. Back in the days of the druids, it was used in pagan rituals, with many believing it had special powers.
The origin of its connection with love and kissing has a number of stories, one of which comes from a Norse tale concerning the death of Balder, a Norse god. He was the son of Frigg, the goddess of love and wife of Odin.
After dreams foretelling of Balder’s death, Frigga made every plant and animal swear to never hurt him, making him invincible, but the other gods entertained themselves by trying to kill him using a variety of weapons.
Loki, an evil god, realised that mistletoe had been overlooked in the vow making, so he contrived to make a weapon out of mistletoe and killed Balder with it.
Frigg’s tears then became the white berries and she decreed the plant should become a symbol of love, which is how the plant is linked to love and kissing.