Not to be semantically confused with :
Witch-Hazel nor with Chinese Witch-Hazel [trees with similar names] or Witch's Broom [a gall on a tree].
Easily mistaken for the tree :
English Elm (Ulmus procera), see captions above for differences.
There is a sub-species : Ulmus glabra ssp. montana (also called Wych Elm) which, sparse before Dutch Elm disease came to UK shores in the 1970's, seems to have since been decimated.
It is polygamous, having both male, female and bisexual flowers on the same plant. Elm trees are distinguished from other trees by the thin flattish papery fruits with a small central bulge.
English Elm, Wych Elm is susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease (DED), which is a sac fungal infection spread by the elm bark beetle, so there are now many fewer of them, and unlike English Elm it does not spread by suckering.
Elm bark beetles feed on the xylem tissues beneath the bark, which eventually peels off leaving radial grooves in the tissue visible; the feeding galleries of the Elm Bark Beetle (Scotylus schevyrewi). After infection by the fungus the tree responds by producing a gum to plug the breaches in the xylem, which transports nutrients and water up to the top of the tree. Being now starved of this fluid the leaves on the upper branches of the trees start to wither and turn yellow in summer, and then shed months before the normal autumn leaf-fall. The rest of the tree starts to similarly succumb from the top downwards apart from the roots of English Elm which will produce runners in an attempt to escape and propagate, but they too eventually die in 15 years. The tree is dead, but not the fungus which killed it. In England this process occurred in the 1970's, now most of the Elm trees have gone.