pipe weed lord of the rings

‘Flora of Middle-Earth’ Reveals the LOTR Series’ Biggest Letdown

Turns out pipe-weed was more brown than green.

There is a certain variety of stoner whose identity is inextricably linked to a love of Middle-Earth, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and all things J.R.R. Tolkien. This person spends lazy summer afternoons reading The Silmarillion, perhaps puffing on a long wooden pipe packed with sticky green cannabis flowers.

We have some bad news for those marijuana-loving Lord of the Rings fans: Pipe-weed is not weed, as many people — this reporter included — long assumed it was.

This bad news comes by way of Flora of Middle Earth, an actual botany text released by Oxford University Press on Tuesday. In the book, which explores the factual and fictional plants of Tolkien’s world, author and University of Florida botanist Walter Judd, Ph.D. reveals that Tolkien’s famed pipe-weed is a lot less exciting that fans might hope.

In the book, which also includes beautiful, wood carving-styled illustrations by Graham Judd, Walter Judd notes that Tolkien’s pipe-weed was actually just plain old tobacco. He uses the word “tobacco” in the narrative voice in Lord of the Rings and even named the tobacco plant genus Nicotiana in the Prologue section “Concerning Pipe-weed.” Furthermore, Bilbo explicitly mentions tobacco in The Hobbit, telling Gandalf that it’s “a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors.”

Despite these obvious textual clues, which would have been apparent to any fan who read the books closely, the pipe weed-marijuana connection has persisted for a long time, probably tracing its roots to dorm room stoner culture that rose around the same time as Dungeons & Dragons. The game draws significantly on Middle-Earth for mythology and characters, so it’s no stretch to say that the same people who spent their weekends engaging in D&D campaigns and smoking joints probably also loved Lord of the Rings. Be that as it may, though, Tolkien’s original text, as Judd points out, does not support this interpretation.

While it’s possible that fans may have overstated the cannabis head-canon, it’s not all in their minds. Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy heavily suggested that Gandalf and Frodo’s pipes were filled with something a little stronger than tobacco. You may recall the moment Saruman rebukes Gandalf for his smoking habits, hitting him with the wild side-eye:

It seems like a stretch to say that tobacco, a stimulant, slows a person’s mind. In fact, this is a sentiment much more commonly associated with marijuana. To further hammer home the degree to which Jackson implied hobbits liked to get lit, let’s recall the moment in which Merry and Pippin light up their pipes in the ruins of Isengard and sit around smoking, snacking, and laughing, their eyes narrowed in that characteristic way:

Whatever our wishful thinking — and Peter Jackson’s creative liberties — had us believe, the evidence cited in Flora of Middle Earth is fairly clear: Pipe-weed is tobacco. Bummer.

At least you can take comfort in the fact that next time a Tolkien-loving friend winkingly suggests you share a pipe of Longbottom Leaf or Old Toby, you can hit them with the “Well, actually…”

Turns out pipe-weed was more brown than green.



Basic Information

Creative Tab
Middle-Earth Materials
Renewable Stackable
Yes Yes

Bought by Sold by
Hobbit bartenders (leaves) Hobbit bartenders (dried pipe-weed)

Added in
Public Beta 1
Update 36 (renamed to Pipe-weed)
Renewed Snapshot 1.2

–Gimli, The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers

Pipe-weed is an item used with a pipe to blow smoke rings. You must have pipe-weed in your inventory to use a pipe, and every time you blow a smoke ring one piece of pipe-weed is consumed. Every consumed pipe-weed restores 1 ( ) .

Pipe-weed can be made from drying leaves in a furnace or Hobbit oven (and is the only non-food item which the latter can smelt besides reeds). It can also be obtained as a drop from Hobbits, or purchased from bartenders.


  • 1 Pipe-weed Plant
  • 2 Pipe-weed Seeds
  • 3 Pipe-weed Crop
  • 4 Pipe-weed Leaf
  • 5 Lore

Pipe-weed Plant [ edit | edit source ]

The first step to producing your own pipe-weed is to get a pipe-weed plant (or Sweet Galenas). In the renewed version only this is called ‘Wild Pipe-weed’ and has the texture shown to the right above. It is found quite commonly in the Shire and (since Public Beta 29) rarely in Gondor, Ithilien and Dor-en-Ernil (and their sub-biomes), in patches similar to other plants. It emits smoke particles, similarly to the pipe-weed crop. Using bone meal on the grass in the Shire may yield them.

If hit, it drops one plant. These are stackable up to 64. When crafted on a regular crafting table, it makes two seeds.

Pipe-weed Seeds [ edit | edit source ]

The second step is gaining some pipe-weed seeds to grow pipe-weed crops. They can be obtained by crafting plants or leaves and by harvesting crops.

Pipe-weed Crop [ edit | edit source ]

In the third step, sow those seeds, to obtain a pipe-weed crop. When the crop is fully grown, it emits smoke particles and can be harvested. It drops 1-3 leaves and 1-3 seeds. They are found naturally in some Hobbit farms. Pipe-weed is a favourite among Hobbits, and so is predominately found in this region.

Pipe-weed Leaf [ edit | edit source ]

The fourth and last step is to harvest pipe-weed leaves and dry them in a furnace or Hobbit oven to produce pipe-weed, which can then be smoked using a pipe. Smoking replenishes 1 ( ) , so pipe-weed can also be seen as food. The leaves can also be sold to bartenders in the Shire and Uruk traders.

Lore [ edit | edit source ]

Pipe-weed was originally brought to Middle-earth by the Númenóreans during the Second Age. It is known by many names throughout Middle-earth, including Sweet Galenas (Dúnedain of the North), Westmans-Weed (Gondor) and, of course, Pipe-weed (Hobbits). Gandalf himself was taught how to smoke it by the hobbits. Saruman originally advised Gandalf against it, but eventually he gave in and took up smoking himself. There are several varieties of pipe-weed, grown in different regions of Middle-Earth. These varieties include Old Toby, Longbottom Leaf, Southlinch, and Southern Star. Pipe-weed is highly valued by the hobbits and, as the LotR mod hobbit speech banks will tell you, the hobbits believe they would be lost without it. It was smoked by many of the peoples of Middle-earth. Gandalf, Gimli and Strider were notable smokers of the plant.

Pipe-weed is an item used with a pipe to blow smoke rings. You must have pipe-weed in your inventory to use a pipe, and every time you blow a smoke ring one piece of pipe-weed is consumed. Every consumed pipe-weed restores 1 (). Pipe-weed can be made from drying leaves in a furnace or Hobbit…