- Dobby: "You has to eat this, sir! Right before you go into the lake, sir – Gillyweed!"
- Harry Potter: "What’s it do?"
- Dobby: "It will make Harry Potter breathe underwater, sir!"
- — Usage of Gillyweed[src]
Gillyweed was a magical plant that, when eaten, allowed a human to breathe underwater. It was said to resemble a bundle of slimy, grey-green rat tails. When eaten, it gave the consumer gills, allowing them to breathe underwater, and webbing between the fingers and toes, allowing them to swim underwater with ease. Gillyweed was native to the Mediterranean Sea.
When Gillyweed was eaten by a human, it gave them fish-like attributes, including gills to process oxygen from water, webbing between the fingers and toes for easier swimming, removing the need for blinking, and adapting to cold temperatures in water. While under the effects of Gillyweed, one could not breathe air with their lungs. There was some debate among Herbologists as to the duration of the effects of Gillyweed in fresh water versus salt water, but in fresh water, a sprig of Gillyweed lasted for well over an hour.
Connection with Gillywater
Gillyweed was also presumably an ingredient in a drink called Gillywater. Professor McGonagall once ordered a glass of it in The Three Broomsticks. Romilda Vane offered Harry a glass of Gillywater spiked with Love potion, in an attempt to get Harry to ask her to Professor Slughorn's Christmas Party.
Gillyweed was first discovered by Herbologist Beaumont Marjoribanks some time before 1845. However, the magical properties of Gillyweed remained unknown until Elladora Ketteridge ate the plant and nearly suffocated, recovering only when she stuck her head into a bucket of water.
During the 1988–1989 school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Professor Pomona Sprout taught her fifth year Herbology students about Gillyweed, in preparation for their upcoming Ordinary Wizarding Levels.
In February 1995, Harry Potter used Gillyweed during the Second Task of the 1994 Triwizard Tournament. Dobby gave it to him, after overhearing a conversation which Bartemius Crouch Junior (disguised as Alastor Moody), staged with Professor McGonagall. Consuming the gillyweed allowed Harry to breathe underwater successfully in the Great Lake.
Behind the scenes
- Chocolate Frog Cards state that Majoribanks discovered Gillyweed in the mid-eighteenth or nineteenth century, while Elladora Ketteridge is said to have discovered its effects about a century earlier. This error would be fixed if the dates were switched, or if Majoribanks was alive during the same time as, or before Ketteridge, as he merely discovered the existence of Gillyweed, while Ketteridge discovered its magical effects.
- In the video game, the Gillyweed allows Harry to breathe underwater and webs his toes. However, Harry does not have gills, nor are his fingers webbed, presumably for graphical limitations.
- Gillyweed is featured in Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean and Magical Water Plants of the Highland Lochs, books lent to Neville Longbottom by Barty Crouch Jnr, who was posing as Alastor Moody.
- In the film, Neville Longbottom tells Harry about Gillyweed (he learned of it in a book Crouch/"Moody" had given him), and Harry is given the actual Gillyweed by Neville and told to put it in his mouth by Crouch.
- In the book, it is Dobby who tells Harry about it and gives Harry the Gillyweed, after overhearing Barty's/"Moody's" staged conversation with Professor McGonagall about which tactic the Champions might use in the Second Task.
- There seems to be some Gillyweed stored in the Herbology Greenhouses as well as Professor Snape's private potion stores. This suggests that Gillyweed can also been used as an ingredient in at least one potion, instead of being eaten raw.
- Gillyweed's properties along with it being indigenous to the Mediterranean might allude to a Greek myth of a mortal who ingested an herb that rendered him aquatic for the rest of his life who went on to become a minor sea god.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Appears in an alternate reality)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Appears in an alternate reality)
- Wizarding World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World (Mentioned only)
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter for Kinect (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 26 (Chaos Ensues) - Herbology Lesson "Gillyweed"
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) - Chapter 22 (The Second Task)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)