Witches' Brooms are irregular tufts of twigs often found among the branches of trees such as Birches, Hornbeam, etc., where they look like crows' nests, and similar structures are to be found on Silver Firs and other conifers. In the former case they are due to Exoascus, in the latter to Aecidium, fungi which are perennially parasitic in the shoots, and stimulate the twiggy development of a number of buds which would normally have remained in abeyance, or not have been formed at all, and only do so now in a fashion different from that of normal branches.
Rosette-like formations, depending on similar disturbing causes on the part of insects, occur in conifers - e.g. Gastropacha Pini.
Dense tufts of twiggy shoots may be developed on many trees by pruning in such a way as to stimulate the shooting out of basal buds which would otherwise remain dormant, e.g. Elm, Ash, and thus it occurs that injuries such as frost, insect bites, etc., may induce the production of such tufts in a tree crown. The dense nests of stool-shoots thrown up from felled tree-stumps are of essentially the same nature - partly adventitious and partly dormant buds being enabled to grow out because they can now be supplied with materials previously carried beyond them while the trunk was still there. Suckers, if repeatedly cut down, may also behave similarly.
Wood-nodules or Sphaeroblasts are curious marblelike masses of wood which protrude with a covering of bark from old trunks of Beeches, etc., and can be readily dug out with a knife. The nodule has arisen by the slow growth of the cambium of a dormant bud, the base of which separated at an early date from the wood beneath; the cambium then closed in over the base and laid on thickening rings all round the axis of the bud except at the extreme apex. When the separation occurred the cambium of the wood beneath covered over the previous point of junction, and thus the woody bud was pushed out with the bark, and now protrudes covered with a thin layer of the latter. Similar nodules are occasionally found on Apple trees.