The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Location
Widespread; recorded in many regions across Middle-earth
Species
Taxus baccata
Pronunciation
y'oo
Meaning
From Old English iw or eow1

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About this entry:

  • Updated 10 September 2022
  • This entry is complete

Yews

Slow-growing evergreen trees that live for thousands of years, and were found at least in Beleriand and the northern parts of Middle-earth. As in modern times, yews in the earlier Ages were particularly associated with bows and bowmaking, a craft for which their tough, elastic wood is well suited. The Men of the Vales of Anduin carried bows made of yew, and so did Bard the Bowman, the Dragon-shooter who defeated Smaug. Most famous of all bows, though, was Belthronding, the weapon of Beleg Strongbow, that was made of black yew-wood.2


Notes

1

These Old English names for the tree evidently derived from an older word relating to its colour, but the exact meaning of that word is uncertain. Different sources suggest names meaning 'brown', 'red', 'mottled' or 'yellow'. Yews tend to have red-brown bark and pale yellowish wood, so any of these interpretations might potentially be applicable.

2

As mentioned in note 1 above, the wood of the yew is generally pale in colour, so Beleg's bow must have been stained or otherwise coloured black by its maker.

See also...

Belthronding, The Archer

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 10 September 2022
  • This entry is complete

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