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Probably introduced during the middle years of the Third Age1
Produced in the Bree-land, on the southern slopes of the Bree-hill
A variety of pipe-weed
Important peaks
Grew on the Bree-hill
'South ridge' or 'south terrace'2


About this entry:

  • Updated 25 October 2022
  • This entry is complete


Pipe-weed from Bree

The Hobbits of the Bree-land had grown pipe-weed on the southern slopes of the Bree-hill for centuries. 'Southlinch' was the name of a series of fields on the slopes of the hill where the plant was grown (and the derivation of the name suggests that these fields may have been divided into terraces). Pipe-weed had originally been found growing wild on the hill, and though we are not told when cultivation began, this seems to have been before about III 2670 (or 1070 by the Shire-reckoning). It was at about this time that the Leaf was apparently discovered in the Bree-land by Tobold Hornblower and taken back to the Southfarthing of the Shire (Tobold himself would not reveal how he acquired the plant, but this seems the most likely course of events).

The Halflings' Leaf was still being grown on the slopes of the Bree-hill more than three centuries later, at the time of the War of the Ring. It was smoked in Bree by Hobbits and Men alike, though even they acknowledged that the Southlinch Leaf did not compare to that grown in the Southfarthing of the Shire.



Tobold Hornblower introduced pipe-weed to the Shire from Bree in III 2670, so it must have been growing in the Bree-land before that date. The herb had been brought to Bree by travellers from Gondor, which might in principle imply that it appeared at any point in the Third Age. However, we can probably narrow this down to a time after the foundation of the Shire in III 1601 (otherwise we'd expect that the settlers would already have known about it, and so Tobold Hornblower would not have had to introduce it to the Shire nearly a thousand years later).


In his extended index to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien explains the name Southlinch as referring to 'Hill fields on the S[outh] side of Bree Hill'. The old word linch refers to a ridge or terrace, so these fields on the slopes of the hill were apparently divided into terraces for the growing of pipe-weed.

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 25 October 2022
  • This entry is complete

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