Fantastic Botany – Illustrated Book Documents Plant-Life Of Tolkien’s Middle Earth

by Hannah Means Shannon

 

In a move bound to warm the hearts of completist J.R.R. Tolkien fans, prestigious publisher Oxford University Press are going to be releasing an attractive, illustrated hardback book that looks in many ways like any science reference work you might have on your most intellectually-themed bookshelf—but inside it’s going to document the byways of intricate fantasy by tracking the plant-life of Middle Earth as featured in the books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series.

Since these plants exist partly in the real world, and partly in imaginative reality, naturally they need illustrations to present them to the reader, and the illustrator who has undertaken this substantial task is artist Graham Judd.

The text of the book is written by botanist Walter Judd and it renders 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, [and] a description of the plant’s distribution and ecology”.  Each entry is then accompanied by Graham Judd’s frankly gorgeous and atmospheric drawings “in the style of a woodcut print”.

Astonishingly, this father and son team have collected over three-thousand “vascular plants” that Tolkien would have originally seen in the British Isles and selected certain plants for inclusion in his universe over others.

There’s also a “comprehensive alphabetical listing of each species”, along with the visual identification key of the plant drawings.

Flora of Middle Earth: Plants of Tolkien’s Legendarium will arrive in bookstores on August 15th, 2017.