Fiction Authors Get It Wrong

Steve Marak
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 13:29:56 PDT
On Fri, 12 Jun 2009, Jim McKenney wrote:

> The ones which broke the spell for me were the appearance of potatoes 
> and tobacco in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

My wife and I had similar reactions. As you might expect with such a 
dedicated fan base, there is commentary on anomalies in Middle Earth 
botany on the web. Here's a link that's not bad:

To our recollection, Tolkien always referred to "pipe-weed" rather than 
tobacco, leaving himself an out. But somewhere I found a note that he 
specified (I think not in text of LOTR itself, but in something ancillary 
to it) that pipe-weed was the leaf of a strain of nicotiana. I don't 
recall the details. (But he also declared it to be introduced to Middle 
Earth during the Second Age - one of the advantages of creating your own 
universe, I suppose.)


(at least the potatoes are geophytes!)

-- Steve Marak

More information about the pbs mailing list