eginning October 28th and continuing through November 24th we celebrate the Celtic Tree Month of Reed. Reed actually is more of a shrub like plant and in some places (such as England) is better known by its folk name “Scotch Broom”. Entwined in this period is the Celtic New Year or Samhain (October 31). What better representation than the broom. The Reed symbolizes purification, protection, and fertility. Wands made of reed were often symbols of authority.
Reed or broom is a densely growing shrub plant and is indigenous to England and the temperate regions of Europe and northern Asia. It is often found in abundance on sandy heaths and pastures where it grows wild. Once established, Reed can grow to a height of over 8 feet. The stems are mostly leafless yet some leaves can grow around the base.
The flowers of the Reed are very fragrant and about ¾ inch long. Their color can range from light yellow to orange with crimson wings. They bloom from April to July and occur on plants as young as 2 years old. However they are far more abundant on plants of 4 years or more. Bees are usually attracted to the Reed’s flowers yet not because of their sweet taste. They enjoy the abundance of pollen found there.
The broom seldom grows large enough to furnish useful wood, but when its stems acquire a sufficient size it is beautifully veined and being hard provides valuable material for veneering. It is most commonly used for making brooms, brushes, and basketwork.
Reed was best known for its use as roofing for homes. Thatch roofs used to be cheap and plentiful. It was a perfect insulator to keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.