Rogues of the Borderlands
Other Names: Leaf, Sweet Galenas, Westmansweed.
Range/Where Found: Pipeweed was originally brought to Middle-earth from Númenor (and ultimately from the Elves of Eressëa). It grew abundantly in Gondor and wherever it was given great care in the North. Initially raised only for its aromatic fragrance, it was not until the late Third Age (c. 2670) that the herb was smoked. Commercial production of pipeweed was centered in Bree and the Shire (the only remaining civilized regions in Eriadot at that time), from which it subsequently spread throughout the Westlands and perhaps elsewhere in Middle-earth.
Foraged: Shop-bought in Bree
Characteristics: Pipeweed is easily recognized by its large leaves which are dried for smoking. It is a large plant, reaching 3 or 4’ in height and appearing to be a bush because of its immense amount of foliage. The variety known as “Old Toby” is also sometimes refened to as Longbottom
Leaf or Southern Star, but these are distinct (although related) varieties. Bree was known for growing a strain called Southlinch.
Medicinal Uses: None.
Other Uses: In Númenor, lissuin (the ancestor of pipeweed) was said to bring “heart’s case” (UT p. 189) by its sweet fragrance, and its subsequent popularity among pipe-smokers derives in part from this calming effect on the troubled or distracted mind.
Cost: 4 sp/ dose.
Difficulty of Finding: Light.
Warning: Some maintain that pipeweed is addictive and harmful to the respiratory system.
Pipe-weed, a herb with sweet-scented flowers, was evidently brought to Middle-earth by the Númenóreans during the Second Age, as suggested by its common name in Gondor: Westman’s Weed.
It was known among the Dúnedain as Sweet Galenas for its fragrance. As the Hobbits’ custom of smoking it became more widely known, the habit spread to Dwarves and the Rangers of the North, and the plant became known as Halflings’ Leaf.
Pipe-weed was first grown among Hobbits by Tobold Hornblower in Longbottom (a region in the Southfarthing of the Shire). Despite its foreign origins, the Hobbits (possibly those in Bree) were the first to use it for smoking. Popular Hobbit-grown varieties include Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby, and Southern Star; its cultivation became an established industry in the Southfarthing.
The Wizard Gandalf learned to smoke pipe-weed from the Hobbits. He is known to turn smoke-rings into different colours. One palpable description of the weed’s effects is given by Gandalf to fellow wizard Saruman upon a meeting of the White Council:
“You might find that smoke blown out cleared your mind of shadows within. Anyway, it gives patience, to listen to error without anger.”
Cost: 1 cp/1 pound.
Good for a week’s smoke. More exotic herbs can cost many times this price.
Brands sold in and around Bree-lands: