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Various wands of different woods (left to right): Harry Potter's wand was holly; Ron Weasley's wand was willow; Hermione Granger's wand was vine; Sirius Black's wand was unknown; Severus Snape's wand was unknown; and Lord Voldemort's wand was yew

"Only a minority of trees can produce wand quality wood (just as a minority of humans can produce magic). It takes years of experience to tell which ones have the gift, although the job is made easier if Bowtruckles are found nesting in the leaves, as they never inhabit mundane trees."
Garrick Ollivander[src]

Various types of wood were used in the construction of wands. Once carved into the appropriate shape, the wood was embedded with a magical substance that served as its core, which might be chosen specifically to match the type of wood in question. Wands could vary significantly in length — from a minimum of 7" to at least 16" — and come in varying degrees of rigidity, including "springy",[1] "flexible", "supple" and "unyielding".[2]



A Bowtruckle

Only a minority of trees could produce wand quality wood (just as a minority of humans could produce magic). It took years of experience to tell which ones had the gift, although the job was made easier if Bowtruckles were found nesting in the leaves, as they never inhabited mundane trees.

Different types of wood had their own "personalities" and thus wands were likely to choose a wizard with a matching personality. Every single wand was unique and would depend for its character on the particular tree and magical creature from which it derived its materials. Ollivander believed that wand wood had almost human powers of perception and preferences.[3]

Some wand woods were better suited for certain branches of magic. Fir wands were particularly good for transfiguration, yew wands were especially fearsome in the fields of duelling and curses, and alder wands worked better than any other wand wood with nonverbal spells. Alternatively, some woods were poorly suited for certain branches of magic. Acacia wands had a subtle nature and were not suited for "bangs-and-smells magic", and apple wood mixed poorly with the Dark Arts. Additionally, some woods reacted to certain wand cores in unique ways, altering the wands character and/or magical potential.

Wand-making was the study of a lifetime, and wandmakers could continue to learn with every wand they made and matched.[3] Moreover, each wand, from the moment it found its ideal owner, would begin to learn from and teach its human partner. Therefore, the following notes on various wand woods should be regarded as general notes to use as a starting point, and ought not to be taken to describe any individual wand.[3]

Known wand woods[]

Wand wood Known wands constructed of this wood Notes
Acacia A very unusual wand wood which created tricky wands that often refused to produce magic for anyone other than their rightful owner, it also withheld its best effects from all but the most gifted witches and wizards. This sensitivity rendered them difficult to place. Garrick Ollivander kept only a small stock for those witches or wizards of sufficient subtlety, for acacia was not suited to what was commonly known as 'bangs-and-smells' magic. When well-matched, an acacia wand matched any for power, though it was often underrated due to the peculiarity of its temperament. Acacia wands were not used often, as in the wrong hands it would either be overpowered or extremely weak.
Alder Quirinus Quirrell's wand While Alder was an unyielding wood, Garrick Ollivander had discovered that its ideal owner was not stubborn or obstinate, but often helpful, considerate and most likeable. Whereas most wand woods sought similarity in the characters of those they would best serve, alder was unusual in that it seemed to desire a nature that was markedly different from its own, if not precisely opposite. When an alder wand was happily placed, it became a magnificent, loyal helpmate. Of all wand types, alder was best suited to non-verbal spell work, whence came its reputation for being suitable only for the most advanced witches and wizards.
Lottie Turner's wand
Apple Dylan Marwood's wand Applewood wands were powerful and best suited to an owner of high aims and ideals, as this wood mixed poorly with Dark Arts. It was said that the possessor of an apple wand would be well-loved and long-lived, Garrick Ollivander often met customers of great personal charm who found their perfect match in an applewood wand. Apple wand owners often had a talent for conversing with other magical beings in their native tongues.
Ollivander family's heirloom wand
Ash Cedric Diggory's wand Those witches and wizards best suited to ash wands were not lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes, the ideal owner might be stubborn, and would certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant. However, the brash or over-confident witch or wizard, who often insisted of trying wands of this prestigious wood, would be disappointed by its effects. An ash wand cleaved to its one true master and ought not to be passed on or gifted from the original owner, because it would lose power and skill. This tendency was extreme if the core was of unicorn hair.
Charlie Weasley's first wand (later Ron Weasley's first wand)
Colby Frey's wand
Fischer Frey's wand
Aspen Silver Spears' members Garrick Ollivander often found that aspen wand owners were generally strong-minded and determined, more likely than most to be attracted by quests and new orders; this was a wand for revolutionaries. The proper owner of the aspen wand was often an accomplished duellist, or destined to be so, for the aspen wand was one of those particularly suited to martial magic, it usually displayed outstanding charmwork as well.
Beech A wand produced by Garrick Ollivander The true match for a beech wand would be, if young, wise beyond his or her years, and if full-grown, rich in understanding and experience. Beech wands performed very weakly for the narrow-minded and intolerant. When properly matched, the beech wand was capable of a subtlety and artistry not seen in any other wood, hence its lustrous reputation.
Birch Dolores Umbridge's wand Though Garrick Ollivander himself did not use it, his associate in the Hogsmeade branch was known to sell wands made from birch. Its properties as wand wood are unknown.
Blackthorn The wand of a Snatcher Blackthorn wands, which was a very unusual wand wood, had the reputation, in Garrick Ollivander's well-merited opinion, of being best suited to a warrior. These wands appeared to need to pass through danger or hardship with their owners to become truly bonded. Given this condition, the blackthorn wand would become as loyal and faithful a servant as one could wish.
Sir Cadogan (legend)
Black Walnut Less common than the standard walnut wand, that of black walnut sought a master of good instincts and powerful insight. Black walnut was a very handsome wood, but not the easiest to master. It had one pronounced quirk, which was that it was abnormally attuned to inner conflict, and lost power dramatically if its possessor practised any form of self-deception. If the witch or wizard was unable or unwilling to be honest with themselves or others, the wand often failed to perform adequately and must be matched with a new owner if it was to regain its former prowess. Paired with a sincere, self-aware owner, however, it became one of the most loyal and impressive wands of all, with a particular flair in all kinds of charmwork.
Brazilwood Its properties as wand wood are unknown.
Cedar Horace Slughorn's wand The cedar wand found its perfect home where there were perspicacity and perception. Garrick Ollivander believed that whenever he met one who carried a cedar wand, he found strength of character and unusual loyalty. The witch or wizard who was well-matched with cedar carried the potential to be a frightening adversary, especially if harm was done to those they were fond of, which often came as a shock to those who had thoughtlessly challenged them.
Cherry Gilderoy Lockhart's wand Cherry was a rarely used wood that made for a wand of strange power. The wand-purchaser should dispel from their minds any notion that the pink blossom of the living tree made for a frivolous or merely ornamental wand, for cherry wood often made a wand that possessed truly lethal power, whatever the core — though if paired with dragon heartstring, the wand ought never to be teamed with a wizard without exceptional self-control and strength of mind. Cherry wood was a highly praised and sought after wood among Mahoutokoro students in Japan. This wand was considered expensive, possibly because of the wood it was made out of.
Mary Cattermole's wand
Neville Longbottom's second wand
Several Mahoutokoro students
Ivy Warrington's wand
Albus Potter's wand
Chestnut Peter Pettigrew's wand According to Garrick Ollivander, this was a most curious, multi-faceted wood, which varied greatly in its character depending on the wand core, and took a great deal of colour from the personality that possessed it. The wand of chestnut was attracted to witches and wizards who were skilled tamers of magical beasts, those who possessed great gifts in Herbology, and those who were natural fliers. When paired with dragon heartstring, it might find their best match among those who were overfond of luxury and material things, and less scrupulous than they should be about how they were obtained. Conversely, when paired with unicorn hair, this wand showed a predilection for those concerned with all manner of justice.
Three successive Chief Warlocks[3]
Professor Kettleburn's wand
Cypress Remus Lupin's wand Cypress wands were associated with nobility and were said to be well-matched to wizards who were willing to die a heroic death. Cypress wands found their soul mates among the brave, the bold and the self-sacrificing: those who were unafraid to confront the shadows in their own and others' natures.
Dogwood Robyn Thistlethwaite's wand Dogwood wands were quirky and mischievous; they had playful natures and insisted upon partners who could provide them with scope for excitement and fun. It would be quite wrong, however, to deduce from this that dogwood wands were not capable of serious magic when called upon to do so; they had been known to perform outstanding spells under difficult conditions, and when paired with a suitably clever and ingenious witch or wizard, could produce dazzling enchantments. Dogwood wands refused to perform non-verbal spells and they were often rather noisy.
Ebony A wand produced by Garrick Ollivander Ebony wands had an impressive appearance and reputation, being highly suited to all manner of combative magic, and to Transfiguration. Ebony was happiest in the hand of those with the courage to be themselves. Frequently non-conformist, highly individual or comfortable with the status of outsider. In the experience of Garrick Ollivander, the ebony wand's perfect match was one who would hold fast to their beliefs, no matter what the external pressure, and would not be swayed lightly from their purpose.
Leta Lestrange's wand
Aurelius Dumbledore's wand
Elder The Elder Wand Elder was the rarest wand wood of all and reputed to be deeply unlucky, elder wands were much more difficult to master than any other. They contained powerful magic, but scorned to remain with an owner who was not the superior of their company; it took a remarkable wizard to keep an elder wand for any length of time. Only a highly unusual person would find their perfect match in the elder, and on the rare occasion when such a pairing occurred, it might be taken as certain that the witch or wizard in question was marked out for a special destiny.
Elm Lucius Malfoy's wand Elm wands preferred owners with presence, magical dexterity and a certain native dignity. Of all wand woods, elm, in Ollivander's experience, produced the fewest accidents, the least foolish errors, and the most elegant charms and spells; these were sophisticated wands, capable of highly advanced magic in the right hands (which made it highly desirable to those who espoused the pure-blood philosophy).
English oak Rubeus Hagrid's wand A wand for good times and bad, this was a friend as loyal as the wizard who deserved it. Wands of English oak demanded partners of strength, courage, and fidelity. Less well-known is the propensity for owners of English oak wands to have powerful intuition, and, often, an affinity with the magic of the natural world, with the creatures and plants that are necessary to wizardkind for both magic and pleasure.
Merlin's wand (rumored)
Fir Minerva McGonagall's wand There is no doubt that fir wood, coming as it did from the most resilient of trees, produced wands that demanded staying power and strength of purpose in their true owners, and favoured owners of focused, strong-minded and, occasionally, intimidating demeanour. They were poor tools in the hands of the changeable and indecisive. Fir wands were called 'the survivor's wand' as its owners were known to come out of mortal peril unscathed. Fir wands were particularly suited to Transfiguration.
Hawthorn Draco Malfoy's wand Hawthorn makes a strange, contradictory wand that is full of paradoxes. They were complex and intriguing in their natures, just like the owners who best suited them. It had been generally observed that the hawthorn wand seemed most at home with a conflicted nature, or with a witch or wizard passing through a period of turmoil. Hawthorn wands might be particularly suited to healing magic, but they were also adept at curses. Hawthorn was not easy to master, however, one should only ever consider placing a hawthorn wand in the hands of a witch or wizard of proven talent or the consequences might be dangerous. Hawthorn wands have a notable peculiarity: their spells can, when badly handled, backfire.
Hazel Sybill Trelawney's wand Hazel wands were sensitive and often reflected their owners emotional state. They worked best for a master who understood and could manage their own feelings. Others should be very careful handling a hazel wand if its owner had recently lost their temper, or suffered a serious disappointment, because the wand would absorb such energy and discharge it unpredictably. The positive aspect of a hazel wand more than made up for such minor discomforts, however, for it was capable of outstanding magic in the hands of the skilful, and was so devoted to its owner that it often "wilted" at the end of its master's life. Hazel wands also had the unique ability to detect water underground and would emit silvery, tear-shaped puffs of smoke if passing over concealed springs and wells.
Holly Harry Potter's wand Traditionally considered protective, Holly wands worked most happily for those who might need help overcoming a tendency to anger and impetuosity. At the same time, holly wands often chose owners who were engaged in some dangerous and often spiritual quest. Holly was one of those woods that varied most dramatically in performance depending on the wand core.
Cassandra Vole's wand
Hornbeam Viktor Krum's wand A particularly fine-tuned and sentient wand, Hornbeam selected for its life mate the talented witch or wizard with a single, pure passion, which some might call obsession - more kindly - vision, which would almost always be realised. Hornbeam wands adapted more quickly than almost any other to their owner's style of magic and would become so personalised, so quickly, that other people would find them extremely difficult to use even for the most simple of spells. Hornbeam wands likewise absorbed their owner's code of honour, whatever that might be, and would refuse to perform acts - whether for good or ill - that did not tally with their master's principles.
Garrick Ollivander's wand
Peregrine's wand
Ivy Though Garrick Ollivander himself did not use it, his associate in the Hogsmeade branch was known to sell wands made from ivy. Aside from that, its properties as wand wood are unknown.
Larch Celestina Warbeck's wand Larch wands had a reputation for instilling confidence and courage in the user, ensuring demand had always outstripped supply. This much sought-after wand was, however, hard to please in the matter of ideal owners, and trickier to handle than many imagined. The celebrated wandmaker Garrick Ollivander found that larch always created wands of hidden talents and unexpected effects, which likewise described the master who deserved it. It was often the case that the witch or wizard who belonged to the larch wand might never realise the full extent of their considerable talents until paired with it, but that they would then make an exceptional match.
Kevin Farrell's wand
Laurel It was said that a laurel wand couldn't perform a dishonourable act, although, in the quest for glory (a not uncommon goal for those best suited to these wands), laurel wands had been known to perform powerful and sometimes lethal magic. They also had the unusual and engaging attribute of issuing a spontaneous lightning strike if another witch or wizard attempted to steal them. Laurel wands were sometimes called fickle, but this was unfair; the laurel wand was simply unable to tolerate laziness in a possessor, and it was in such conditions that it was most easily and willingly won away. Otherwise, it would cleave happily to its first match forever.[3]
Mahogany James Potter's wand Not much is known about this wood, however, the wand that belonged to James Potter I was made of mahogany. It was described by Ollivander as "pliable and excellent for transfiguration", also that it had "a little more power" than the wand that belonged to his wife, Lily.
Maple A Garrick Ollivander wand Maple wands often chose owners who were travellers and explorers by nature; they were not stay-at-home wands and preferred ambition in their witch or wizard, otherwise, their magic grew heavy and lacklustre. Fresh challenges and regular changes of scene caused this wand to literally shine, burnishing itself as it grew, with its partner, in ability and status.
Jacob's wand
Olive Its properties as wand wood are unknown.
Pear Pear produced wands of splendid magical powers, which give their best in the hands of the warm-hearted, the generous and the wise. Possessors of pear wands were, in the experience of the learned wandmaker Garrick Ollivander, usually popular and well-respected and he never knew of a single instance where a pear wand had been discovered in the possession of a Dark Witch or Wizard. They were also among the most resilient, even after many years of hard use, they might still present a remarkable appearance of newness.
Pine Pine wands always chose an independent, individual master who might be perceived as a loner, intriguing and perhaps mysterious. Pine wands enjoyed being used creatively, and unlike some others, would adapt unprotestingly to new methods and spells. Many wandmakers insisted that pine wands were able to detect, and perform best for, owners who were destined for long lives, including Garrick Ollivander who had never personally known the master of a pine wand to die young. The pine wand was one of those that were most sensitive to non-verbal magic.
Poplar Eldritch Diggory's wand Poplar wands were a wood to rely upon, of consistency, strength and uniform power. The Ollivander family believed from experience that poplar wands chose witches and wizards of great integrity, and they were always the happiest when working with a witch or wizard of clear moral vision. There was a tired old joke among lesser wandmakers that no poplar wand had ever chosen a politician, but here they showed their lamentable ignorance: two of the Ministry's most accomplished Ministers for Magic were the possessors of fine, Ollivander-made poplar wands.
Evangeline Orpington's wand
Prickly ash Chadwick Boot's wand Not much is known about the wandlore of prickly ash, but it was used by the first and only known non-magic person ever to practice wand making, American No-Maj James Steward.
Red oak You will often hear the ignorant say that red oak is an infallible sign of its owner's hot temper. In fact, the true match for a red oak wand was possessed of unusually fast reactions, making it a perfect duelling wand. Less common than the English oak, its ideal master was light of touch, quick-witted and adaptable, often the creator of distinctive spells, and good person to have by your side in a fight. Red oak wands were, in Ollivander's opinion, among the most handsome.
Redwood Redwood wands were strongly attracted to witches and wizards who already possessed the admirable ability to fall on their feet, to make the right choice, to snatch advantage from catastrophe. This caused redwood to gain a reputation for bringing good fortune to its owner, creating high demand. As was usually the case with wandlore, the general populace had the truth back to front.
Reed Reed wands were best suited to those who were bold and were eloquent speakers, and proved to be very protective friends. Coupled with a dragon heartstring core, the owner's loyalty would be greatly admired by their friends.
Rosewood Fleur Delacour's wand In the wizarding world, rosewood served as an uncommon wand wood. It has a strong sweet smell, which persists over the years, explaining the name. Aside from that, its properties as wand wood are unknown.
Eulalie Hicks's wand
Rowan Rowan wands generally produced powerful, hard-to-break Defensive Charms. This reputation for protection made it a prized wand wood. Rowan wands were also noted for its believed disassociation with the Dark Arts. Rowan is most happily placed with the clear-headed and the pure-hearted, though Ollivander noted that this reputation for virtue ought not to fool anyone – these wands frequently equally matched, and even out-performed others in duels.
Silver lime Silver lime was an incredibly unusual and attractive wood that worked best for Seers and those skilled at Legilimency, mysterious arts both, which consequently gave the possessor of a silver lime wand considerable status. It was considered greatly fashionable in the nineteenth century and the demand outstripped supply, causing some wandmakers to dye other wood in an effort to fool purchasers into believing they had purchased a silver lime wand.
Snakewood Salazar Slytherin's wand Some magical snakewood trees resisted attempts to prune or kill them, and their leaves had powerful healing properties. Aside from that, its properties as wand wood are unknown.
Spruce Spruce wands required a firm hand, because it often appeared to have its own ideas about what magic it ought to be called upon to produce. Unskilled wandmakers called spruce a difficult wood, but in doing so they revealed their own ineptitude; it was quite true that it required particular deftness to work with spruce, which produced wands that were ill-matched with cautious or nervous natures, becoming positively dangerous in fumbling fingers. However, when a spruce wand met its match, a bold spell-caster with a good sense of humour, it became a superb helper, intensely loyal to their owners and capable of producing particularly flamboyant and dramatic effects.
Sugar Maple Its properties as a wand wood are unknown. Its wood was known for wand-making in the United States.
Swamp mayhaw Seraphina Picquery's wand Its properties as a wand wood are unknown. Violetta Beauvais, a wandmaker from New Orleans, used this wood for all of her wands.[4]
Sycamore The sycamore made a questing wand, eager for new experience and losing brilliance if engaged in mundane activities. It was a quirk of these handsome wands that they might combust if allowed to become 'bored', and many witches and wizards, settling down into middle age, were disconcerted to find their trusty wand bursting into flame in their hand as they asked it, one more time, to fetch their slippers. As may be deduced, the sycamore's ideal owner was curious, vital and adventurous, and when paired with such an owner, it demonstrated a capacity to learn and adapt that earned it a rightful place among the world's most highly-prized wand woods.
Tamarack Its properties as a wand wood are unknown. Its wood was known for wand making in the United States.
Vine Hermione Granger's wand Vine wands were among the less common types; they seemed strongly attracted by personalities with hidden depths, and their ideal owners were nearly always those witches or wizards who sought a greater purpose, who had a vision beyond the ordinary and who frequently astounded those who thought they knew them best. Vine is also noted to be more sensitive than any other when it came to detecting a prospective match, they were known to start emitting magical effects when their perfect owner merely entered the room. The druids considered anything with a woody stem as a tree, and vine makes wands of such a special nature that Ollivander was happy to continue their ancient tradition.
Daniel Page's wand
Walnut Bellatrix Lestrange's wand Walnut wands were often found in the hands of magical innovators and inventors; this was a handsome wood possessed of unusual versatility and adaptability. Highly intelligent witches and wizards ought to be offered a walnut wand for trial first, because in nine cases out of ten, the two will find in each other their ideal mate. While some woods are difficult to dominate, and may resist the performance of spells that are foreign to their natures, walnut wands would, once subjugated, perform any task its owner desired, provided that the user was of sufficient brilliance. This made for a truly lethal weapon in the hands of a witch or wizard of no conscience, for the wand and the wizard might feed on each other in a particularly unhealthy manner.
Willow Lily Evans's wand Willow was an uncommon wand wood with healing power, and their ideal owner often had some (usually unwarranted) insecurity, however well they might try and hide it. They had a handsome appearance and a well-founded reputation for enabling advanced, non-verbal magic. Willow wands had consistently selected those of greatest potential, rather than those who felt they had little to learn. The Ollivander family believed that "he who has furthest to travel will go fastest with willow".
Ron Weasley's second wand
Scorpius Malfoy's wand
Penelope Fawley's wand
Yew Lord Voldemort's wand Yew wands were among the rarer kinds, and their ideal matches were likewise unusual and occasionally notorious. The wand of yew was reputed to endow its possessor with the power of life and death, which might, of course, be said of all wands; and yet yew retained a particularly dark and fearsome reputation in the spheres of duelling and all curses. However, it is untrue to say (as those unlearned in wandlore often did) that those who used yew wands were more likely to be attracted to the Dark Arts than another. The witch or wizard best suited to a yew wand might equally prove a fierce protector of others. Wands hewn from these most long-lived trees had been found in the possession of heroes quite as often as of villains. Where wizards had been buried with wands of yew, the wand generally sprouted into a tree guarding the dead owner's grave. What was absolutely certain, at least in Ollivander's experience, was that the yew wand would never choose either a mediocre or a timid owner.
Ginevra Weasley's wand
Two wands produced by Garrick Ollivander

Behind the scenes[]

  • Although J. K. Rowling has said that she only used the Celtic assignations for Harry, Ron and Hermione,[5] Draco Malfoy's wand wood of hawthorn match his date of birth in the Celtic tree calendar as well.
  • Wand wood bearing trees are often protected by bowtruckles and protective curses cast by their owners.[6]
  • Many superstitions have arisen around wands, based on the woods used. Certain wands are supposedly incompatible "When his wand's oak and hers is holly, then to marry would be folly." It also can denote flaws in the owner's character "Rowan gossips, chestnut drones, ash is stubborn, hazel moans". Among these sayings is also "wand of elder, never prosper".[7]
  • It is unclear if magical variants of trees used as wand woods, such as the Wiggentree and the Whomping Willow, can be used as wand wood, or if such wands would have additional properties.

Author's comments[]

J. K. Rowling has explained her choice of wand woods for Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort:

"It was not an arbitrary decision: holly has certain connotations that were perfect for Harry, particularly when contrasted with the traditional associations of yew, from which Voldemort's wand is made. European tradition has it that the holly tree (the name comes from 'holy') repels evil, while yew, which can achieve astonishing longevity (there are British yew trees over two thousand years old), can symbolise both death and resurrection; the sap is also poisonous."[5]

Rowling has also revealed that she discovered that Harry's wand wood corresponded to his date of birth in the Celtic tree calendar afterward, and decided to use the calendar to assign the wand woods of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as a "hidden connection" between the three.[5]

She has also commented on Hagrid's wand wood:

"Hagrid, for instance, has an oak wand, though by this Celtic system he should have a wand made of elder; in Britain, the oak is 'King of the Forest' and symbolises strength, protection and fecundity; what other wood could 'choose' Hagrid?"[8]

See also[]


Notes and references[]