Native green mistletoe/pirita has all but disappeared from urban Christchurch. Native birds, needed to spread mistletoe, are rarely found in the city which means mistletoe isn't returning naturally.
For the past two years, our goal has been to work with the citizens of Christchurch to establish 500 mistletoe plants and in doing so, boost biodiversity by attracting native birds and insects back to our urban environment.
After seeding their mistletoe, volunteers have been keeping us up to date with their progress via online surveys. From these surveys we are able to learn more about how mistletoe are established and how many have germinated.
In 2016, the project was started as student research, funded by the Friends of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and the University of Canterbury. Mistletoe was seeded throughout the Botanic Gardens, and 33 plants have established.
In 2017, mistletoe was seeded throughout 300 volunteer's backyards. We know 350 plants germinated from these seeds.
In 2018, mistletoe was again seeded throughout another 300 odd backyards, and we now have a total of 493 germinated mistletoe.