Thursday, 15 May 2014

Witches Broom

As we set out from the house one of the first things we saw was this tree with 'lumps' in it.  We speculated about whether this was mistletoe, but I was pretty sure that had green leaves and white berrys.  Mistletoe was the state flower of Oklahoma when I was growing up, but it seems some people want it to be an 'Oklahoma rose' instead. Next thing you know they'll be wanting to ditch the scissor-tailed flycatcher, our state bird.  These lumps, however, just looked to be a bunch of twigs. Vivien thought it was some kind of nest, but I wasn't sure I wanted to see what would come out of those big ones.

This is apparently an example of Witches' Broom, a deformity caused by many shoots growing from the same point. Wikipedia seems uncertain as to the specific cause of this, but the lumps do serve a useful purpose for some widelife, providing them with nests, so Vivien was right on that.

Funny how people are so ready to name things as supernatural. I don't think they look at all like a broom, but maybe brooms were shaped differently in the past.

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