Monday 18 February 2008

Witches Broom

A friend emailed me this picture of a tree at with a growth known as witches broom, which she took last weekend .

Witches broom is a disease or deformity that sometimes occurs in trees, where the natural structure of the plant is changed. A dense mass of shoots grows from a single point, resulting in something that looks like a birds nest or, if the shoots grow straight, like a broom.

It can be caused by a fungal parasite or poor pruning and can persist for several years, but is rarely harmful to the tree.

In the UK, witches broom is most often found in birch trees - the same type of tree used to make besom brooms, or traditional witches' brooms.

Magically, witches broom is supposed to multiply the attributes of whatever tree it forms on. On a birch tree, it would be a symbol of fertility.

If you have any more information about the effects of witches broom on trees or its magical use, leave a comment below.

For more information:


Anonymous said...

It's a really strange thing. I would have assumed it was a bird's nest but for the little typed note underneath the tree. I vaguely remember the tree was an oak.

Badwitch said...

Apparently it is very rare on oak trees. It looks fascinating though.