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.
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