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The results of an investigation into electrical tree growth in XLPE cable insulation using an embedded needle electrode are reported for a range of voltages from 9 kV rms to 27 kV rms. The partial discharge (PD) activity and tree structures were measured simultaneously throughout the tree growth and the trees were recorded from initiation up to and including the final runaway stage. A multifractal analysis was also performed on the tree structures as they propagated, and it was found that their fractal dimension increased and the distribution of embedded structures changed as small side channels were added to the tree as it grew. At 11 kV rms only branch trees were found and only bush (bush-branch) trees at higher voltages, but at 9 kV rms trees of three different shapes were formed. Observation of the tree shapes at 9 kV rms under reflected light followed by a detailed analysis using con-focal Raman spectroscopy, showed that the stagnated and branch-pine (monkey puzzle) tree shapes were due to the formation of a conducting graphitic deposit upon the walls on tree branches in the region of the needle electrode. This was not present in the branch trees produced at 9 kV rms. A simple scheme is presented for the formation of branch-pine trees and their corresponding PD activity based on the concept of conducting branch generation. The trees produced at 13 kV rms and above have a bush shape, which converts into a bush branch shape when a runaway branch grows from their periphery. This is shown to happen when the field at the bush tree periphery exceeded a voltage independent critical value, which was estimated to be 100 MV/m. The consequence of this result for the initiation of the runaway stage in branch trees is commented upon.