The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Location
Known to have grown in Ithilien
Species
Probably Quercus ilex
Pronunciation
i'lex (i here is pronounced long, like English 'eye')
Meaning
Latin for the plant known in English as the 'holm-oak'
Other names
Holm-oaks

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 14 April 2012
  • This entry is complete

Ilexes

Trees found in Ithilien

During Frodo's travels through Ithilien, he encountered ilexes on at least two occasions. The name seems to refer to the tree otherwise known as the 'holm-oak',1 a type of evergreen oak tree that favours warm climates like that of Ithilien. In spring, the branches of the ilex are hung with strings of catkins, and the trees grow to considerable size. At one stage in their journey, Frodo and Sam rested for a time among the branches of an ilex or holm-oak tree.


Notes

1

It should be said that the name 'ilex' can apply to various types of plant besides the holm-oak, including common holly. However, the references in The Lord of the Rings are to a tree large enough to climb, which seems to point to the holm-oak rather than the slender holly. What's more, at one point Frodo and Sam find a stream that's overhung with ilex: this makes rather more sense for holm-oaks (which would be covered in trailing catkins at that time of year) than for a holly bush.

See also...

Holly

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