This website is based on Tolkien in Buckland: An Analysis of the Evidence, Brycheiniog XLIX, March 2018 by Seamus Hamill-Keays, and presented to The Tolkien Society's Oxonmoot 2018 at St Anthony's College, Oxford. The original article with attributions, references and bibliography can be obtained from The Brecknock Society .




Professor Judd, aided by his illustrator son Graham, have produced an exhaustive and exquisite work that leaves no botanical stone unturned in an academic tour de force. Every plant in every region and age of Middle-Earth is painstakingly analysed. It shows that Tolkien had a intense and scholarly interest in the flora of his imaginary lands. Here are some quotes from the many presented by Judd in his analyses of flora. (The analysis of each plant includes a keen insight into its contexts, its etymology, its distribution and its botanical description):

Pipeweed, Tobacco (Nicotiana Tabacum).There is another astonishing thing about Hobbits of old that must be mentioned, an astonishing habit; they imbibed or inhaled, through pipes of clay or wood, the smoke of the burning leaves of a herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf, a variety probably of Nicotiana. (LotR; Prologue; 2).

Daisy. "Sss, sss, my precious," he said."Sun on the daisies it means, it does." (Hobbit V).

Elm. After a good while the eagles...began to go down circling round in great spirals. They did this for a long whole, and at last the hobbit opened his eyes again. The earth was much nearer , and below them were trees that looked like oaks and elms, and wide grass lands, and a river running through it all. (Hobbit VII).

Lichens. The entrance to the path was a sort of arch leading into a gloomy tunnel made by two great trees leant together, too old and strangled with ivy and hung with lichen to bear more than a few blackened leaves. (Hobbit VIII).

Nasturtians, Nasturtiums, Indian Cresses. The flowers glowed red and golden; snap-dragons and sun-flowers, and nasturtians trailing all over the turf walls and peeping in at the round windows. (LotR 1; I).

Alder. After some time they crossed the Water, west of Hobbiton, by a narrow plank bridge. The stream there was no more than a winding black ribbon bordered with leaning alder trees. (LotR 1;III).

Mushrooms. There was beer in plenty, and a mighty dish of mushrooms and bacon, besides much other solid farmhouse fare. (LotR 1;IV).

Willow (Salix species). In the midst of it there wound lazily a dark river of brown water bordered with ancient willows, arched over with ancient willows, blocked with fallen willows, and flecked with thousands of willow leaves. The air was thick with them, fluttering yellow from the branches; for there was a warm and gentle breeze blowing softly in the valley, and the reeds were rustling , and the willow boughs were creaking. (LotR 1;VI)

Linden. He [Beren] heard there oft the flying sound
Of feet as light as linden leaves,
Or music welling underground,
In hidden hollows quavering
Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves,
And one by one with sighing sound
Whispering fell the beechen leaves
In the wintery woodland wavering. (LotR 1; IX).

Hemlock. The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering,
Tinúviel was dancing there
To the music of a pipe unseen,
And the light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering. (LotR 1; IX).

Heather. Strider sprang from hiding and dashed down towards the Road, leaping with a cry through the heather. (LotR 1; XII).

Mallorn Trees. As Frodo prepared to follow him, he laid his hand upon the tree beside the ladder; never before had he been so suddenly and so keenly aware of the feel and texture of a tree's skin and of the life within it. He felt a delight in wood and the touch of it, neither as forester or carpenter; it was the delight of the living tree itself. (LotR 2; VI).*

Poplar. Before them a wide grey shadow loomed, and they heard an endless rustle of leaves like poplars in the breeze.'Lothlórien!' cried Legolas,'Lothlórien! We have come to the eaves of the Golden Wood. Alas that it is winter!' (LotR 1;VI).

Ash. Some recalled the ash: tall straight grey Ents with many-fingered hand and long legs. (LotR 3; IV).

Evermind, Simbelmyne, Uilos. Upon their western sides the grass was white as with a drifted snow. Small flowers sprang there like countless stars amid the turf. 'Look!' said Gandalf. 'How fair are the bright eyes in the grass! Evermind they are called, simbelmyne in this land of Men, for they blossom in all seasons of the year, and grow where dead men rest. (LotR 3;VI).*

Roses. The swift growth of the wild roses with briar and eglantine and trailing clematis was already drawing a veil over this place of dreadful feast and slaughter. (LotR 4; IV).

Anemone. About them lay long launds of green grass dappled with celandine and anemones, white and blue, now folded for sleep. (LotR 4; VII).

Beech.When Sam awoke, he found that he was lying on some soft bed, but over him gently swayed wide beechen boughs, and through their young leaves sunlight glimmered, green and gold.(LotR 6; IV).

Reeds. The remnants sailed with Cirdan south to the Isle of Balar, and they made a refuge for all that could come thither, for they kept a foothold also at the Mouths of Sirion, and there many light and swift ships lay hid in the creeks and waters where the reeds were as dense as a forest. (SILM 20).

Elenor. There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elenor and niphedril bloom no more east of the sea. (LotR Appendix A. 1(v).).*

Ferns. Music in Doriath awoke,
and there beneath the branching oak,
or seated on the beech-leaves brown,
Daeron the Dark with ferny crown
played on his pipe with elvish art
unbearable by mortal heart. (Lays IV: lines 39-44).

*Flora unique to the legendarium.