The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

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  • Updated 22 August 2018
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Sloe

A spiny shrub with dark berries

"Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!"
From a walking-song by Bilbo Baggins
The Fellowship of the Ring I 3
Three is Company

A woody shrub with long narrow leaves and tough spiny branches, from which it takes its alternative name of 'blackthorn'. In spring, sloe puts out cream-coloured five-petalled flowers, and in autumn it produces dark blue berries. It was known across Middle-earth, from the Shire at least as far south as the latitude of the Brown Lands (before those lands were blighted, sloe is named as one of the plants tended by the Entwives whose gardens lay in that region). It also grew in thickets along the banks of the Great River Anduin, where it was seen by the Company of the Ring as they travelled down the river. This part of their journey took place in February and so, because sloe sheds its leaves in winter, they would have seen neither flowers nor berries, but rather a tangled spiny thicket of leafless branches and twigs awaiting the coming of spring.


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About this entry:

  • Updated 22 August 2018
  • Updates planned: 1

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