Other plants of Ithilien


“…small woods of  resinous trees, fir and cedar and cypress, and other kinds unknown in the Shire,”

“…many herbs of forms and scents beyond the garden-lore of Sam.”


In the course of researching this site, I came across numerous descriptions of the Mediterranean highlands biomes called garigue and maquis, in which the plants mentioned by Tolkien are usually found. Generally, the plants mentioned were also to be found natively in northern regions of medieval Europe, including England, which would explain the hobbits’ ability to name them. However, other plants in these Mediterranean landscapes do not grow naturally in England (although they may be cultivated there in modern times). I propose these candidates for the “unknown” trees, shrubs, and herbs that Sam and Frodo encountered for the first time in Ithilien.


"...and cypress, and other kinds unknown in the Shire, with wide glades among them; and everywhere there was a wealth of sweet-smelling herbs and shrubs . . . fronds pierced moss and mould, larches were green-fingered..."

"...new-sprouting parsleys, and many herbs of forms and scents beyond the garden-lore of Sam. The grots and rocky walls were already starred with saxifrages..." [Back to Herblore]


Bergamot (Italy, Citrus bergamia)

Fennel (Mediterranean, Foeniculum vulgare dulce)

Hyssop (Spain, Hyssopus officianalis)

Jasmin (Morocco, Jasminum grandiflorum)

Lavender (France, Lavandula angustifolia)

Lemon (Italy, Citrus Limon)

Oregano (France, Origanum vulgare)

Peppermint (France, Mentha piperita)

Rosemary (Spain, Rosmarinus officianalis)

Mountain Savory (France, Satureja montana)

Trees and Bushes:

European Barberry (Mediterranean, Berberis vulgaris)

Pink Rockrose (Spain, Cistus villosus var. creticus)

Lentisc (Spain, Pistacia lentiscus)