Few settings in literature are as widely known or celebrated as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth. The natural landscape plays a major role in nearly all of Tolkien's major works, and readers have come to view the geography of this fictional universe as integral to understanding and enjoying Tolkien's works. And in laying out this continent, Tolkien paid special attention to its plant life; in total, over 160 plants are explicitly mentioned and described as a part of Middle-Earth. Nearly all of these plants are real species, and many of the fictional plants are based on scientifically grounded botanic principles. In Flora of Middle Earth: Plants of Tolkien's Legendarium, botanist Walter Judd gives a detailed species account of every plant found in Tolkien's universe, complete with the etymology of the plant's name, a discussion of its significance within Tolkien's work, a description of the plant's distribution and ecology, and an original hand-drawn illustration by artist Graham Judd in the style of a woodcut print. Among the over three-thousand vascular plants Tolkien would have seen in the British Isles, the authors show why Tolkien may have selected certain plants for inclusion in his universe over others, in terms of their botanic properties and traditional uses. The clear, comprehensive alphabetical listing of each species, along with the visual identification key of the plant drawings, adds to the reader's understanding and appreciation of the Tolkien canon.
Chapter 1 - Introduction: The Importance of Plants in J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium
Chapter 2 - Plant Communities of Middle-earth
Chapter 3 - The Diversity of Life, with a Focus on the Green Plants
Chapter 4 - Introduction to Plant Morphology - Learning the Language of Plant Descriptions
Chapter 5 - Identification of the Plants of Middle-earth
Chapter 6 - Telperion and Laurelin - The Two Trees of Valinor
Chapter 7 - The Plants of Middle-earth
Chapter 8 - A Note from the Illustrator
Walter S. Judd is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology, University of Florida. His research focuses on the systematics and evolution of the flowering plants. He has published over 200 refereed articles and has described numerous new species of plants.
Graham Judd holds an MFA in Printmaking from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where he now serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member.
"The clear, comprehensive alphabetical listing of each species, along with the visual identification key of the plant drawings, adds to the readers understanding and appreciation of the Tolkien canon."
– Ian Street, Annals of Botany
"Walter Judd lifts lovely passages from Tolkien's prose to elucidate on different plant species. There is helpful basic botany to further offset [our] 'plant blindness'. Graham Judd's rich, black and white illustrations are intriguing combinations of botanical likenesses and psychological commentary."
– The New York Journal of Books
"This is just such a book as Elrond might have had in his library – a work of impeccable botanical and literary scholarship (a rare combination). Together Walter and Graham Judd have produced a beautiful and accessible guide to the north temperate plants that populate Tolkien's world as well as many of our own familiar landscapes. I recommend this book for Tolkien fans who want to enjoy an even fuller immersion on their next trip to Middle Earth and anyone seeking a deeper connection with the green world around us."
– Lauren Raz, Associate Professor, National University of Colombia, Bogota
"What a clever and creative idea! A flora is an accounting of the plants of a particular area; Flora of Middle Earth is a real flora, and Middle Earth comes alive in this book. For the serious scholars of Tolkien this book provides many interesting insights on JRR Tolkien's knowledge of botany and its importance in Tolkien's legendarium. For the casual Tolkien reader, like me, the book provides many valuable insights on JRR Tolkien and his skills as a storyteller."
– Patrick Herendeen, Senior Director, Systematics and Evolutionary Biology, Chicago Botanic Garden
"This book is both eloquently written and beautifully illustrated. Fans of the Tolkien universe can rejoice in a deeper understanding of the world he has created. What's more, anyone with botanical interests will have a lot to gain from the information on these pages. Flora of Middle Earth will introduce plants to a grand and eager audience."
– Matt Candeias, founder of the In Defense of Plants blog and podcast
"The authors deftly weave the lore of Middle-earth with that of modern Europe to tell the stories of the plants, both in fiction and in life. Graham Judd's evocative illustrations nestle comfortably within the text, illuminating it with portraits of the plants and scenes from Tolkien's writings. This is the definitive guide to the trees, shrubs, herbs, and vines in the Shire and beyond, from Eriador to Mordor, or from Northumberland to North Carolina."
– Scott Zona, Curator of the Florida International University Wertheim Conservatory