A snowy crab apple tree in our garden after yesterday's storm. Crab apple trees are cultivated in orchards, but can also grow wild in hedgerows and near the fringe of the woods, as in this case. The irregular canopy, its gnarled and twisted trunk and the fact that twigs normally develop spines contributed to its infamous reputation of tree beloved by witches and sorceress. Even druids seemed to appreciate the plant and used to carve their wands from its wood. To strengthen further the bond that tied Celtic population to the tree, it must be said that it is one of the few host trees to the notoriously sacred Viscum album, and often its branches are covered in lichens. In medieval times it was believed that enchanted apples could be given to a victim to cause demonic possession, and in fairytales it often delivers temptation and poison. However, crab apples feature in the Anglo-Saxon "Nine Herbs Charm" as a dispeller of poison and in many cultures they appear as symbol of immortality and youth. Culpeper describes is as a Venus plant and recommends the use of the fruits together with frankincense to remove pains of the side, and it works also effectively against melancholy.