Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 18:30, 15 August 2013 by (Talk)
Other namesTaters
LocationThe Shire
Potatoes or taters in Hobbitish, were root vegetables that were apparently among the staple foods of the Hobbits (Hamfast Gamgee was recognized locally as an expert on growing potatoes).[1] Samwise Gamgee expected to find them in Ithilien.[2]


The existence of potatoes in the ancient European setting of Middle-earth is problematic since potatoes came from America only in the recent centuries. Tolkien avoided using foreign concepts and terms of English vocabulary such as Native American words. For example tomatoes were referred in the first edition of The Hobbit but removed in the second one.

The term "taters" is perhaps an attempt to 'anglicize' or 'Hobbitize' this word.

Conceivably, the roots named 'potatoes' in Tolkien's work represent some other related root plant, or a crop brought east by the Númenóreans that later became extinct - similar to Tolkien's explanation of how Pipe-weed was introduced to Middle-earth.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Long-expected Party"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"