Wish Upon a Tree

When you wish upon a …




It’s not the quintessential target of our secret desires, but, hey, Jiminy Cricket doesn’t know everything!


In the UK, a wish might just as easily be cast upon a tree as a star.


Well, maybe not quite as easily, seeing as how there’s a fair amount of pounding involved.


Take a look:


Photo of Wish tree coins in Cumbria, England, by Rosser1954 / Wikimedia.


Curious coin-studded tree trunks can be found throughout the woodlands of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The trees are ancient, long past the days of leafing. Instead, they seem to sprout generations of hopes and dreams in the form of shillings and sixpence. In her published diaries, Queen Victoria mentioned visiting an oak tree festooned with coins on an island in Scotland, and the tradition must have started long before that because a 14th century florin coin was found lodged in another Scottish “wishing” tree.


Who says money doesn’t grow on trees?


Centuries of passersby tapping coins into tree trunks have …


culminated in collaborative works of art, mysterious natural monuments to a decidedly human history of superstition and longing. They’re like wishing ponds, but somehow more cryptic in the way the trees have engulfed the coins, resembling an armored layer of bark that guards them against the weathering of time.

Photo of a wishing tree near Ingleton in North Yorkshire, England, by Immanuel Giel / Wikimedia.

Wouldn’t you love to know some of the stories behind those shillings?

I wouldn’t dare ask you to share your secret wishes, but I’m intrigued by how you wish them …

Do you cast wishes toward a certain star? Perhaps you pitch them into a pool of pennies, or save them for annual birthday candle blowouts?



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    How totally cool is this tree??!!

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