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"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 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

Various types of wood were used in the construction of wands. Once carved into the appropriate shape, the wood was embedded with a core of a magical substance, 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]

Nature

Every single wand was unique and would depend for its character on the particular tree and magical creature from which it derived its materials. Moreover, each wand, from the moment it found its ideal owner, would begin to learn from and teach its human partner. Therefore, the following must be seen as general notes on each of the wood types, and ought not to be taken to describe any individual wand.[3]

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. The notes on various wand woods should be regarded very much as a starting point, for wand-making was the study of a lifetime, and wandmakers could continue to learn with every wand they made and matched.[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 any but their owner, and also withheld their best effects from all but those most gifted. This sensitivity rendered them difficult to place, and 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 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, if not precisely opposite to its own, certainly of a markedly different type. 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.
Apple Dylan Marwood wand Applewood wands were not made in great numbers. They were powerful and best suited to an owner of high aims and ideals, as this wood mixed poorly with Dark magic.
Ash Cedric Diggory's wand Ash wands 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. Those witches and wizards best suited to ash wands were not lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes. However, the brash or over-confident witch or wizard, who often insisted of trying wands on this prestigious wood, would be disappointed by its effects. The ideal owner might be stubborn, and would certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant.
Ron Weasley's first wand (originally Charlie Weasley's)
Aspen Silver Spears' members 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. An infamous and secretive eighteenth-century duelling club, which called itself the Silver Spears, was reputed to admit only those who owned aspen wands.
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.
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. 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.
Cedar Horace Slughorn's wand The cedar wand found its perfect home where there were perspicacity and perception. Something that went against Slughorn's personality, as he was not particularly perceptive. The witch or wizard who was well-matched with cedar carried the potential to be a frightening adversary, which often came as a shock to those who had thoughtlessly challenged them.
Cherry Mary Cattermole's wand Both Mary's and Neville's wand had the same wand wood and core.
Neville Longbottom's second wand
Several Mahoutokoro students Cherry wood was a highly praised and sought after wood among Mahoutokoro students in Japan.
Gilderoy Lockhart's wand This wand was considered expensive, possibly because of the wood it was made out of.
Chestnut Peter Pettigrew's wand This wand had a second master in the form of Ron Weasley after it was taken from Pettigrew during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor.
Three successive Chief Warlocks[3] Chestnut wands preferred witches and wizards who were skilled tamers of magical beasts, those who possessed great gifts in Herbology, and those who were natural fliers.
Professor Kettleburn
Cypress Remus Lupin's wand Cypress wands were said to be well-matched to wizards who were self-sacrificing and willing to die a heroic death. Lupin spent the majority of his life alone to save others from having to deal with the consequences of his affliction and died defending Hogwarts castle in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Dogwood 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.

One of the many wands tried by Harry Potter on his first visit to Ollivander's shop in Diagon Alley was made of ebony with a unicorn hair core.

Elder Elder Wand Elder was the rarest wand wood of all and reputed to be deeply unlucky, and elder wands were trickier 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.
Merlin's wand (rumored)
Fir Minerva McGonagall's wand Fir wands demanded staying power and strength of purpose in their true owners, and that they were poor tools in the hands of the changeable and indecisive. Fir wands were particularly suited to Transfiguration, and favoured owners of focused, strong-minded and, occasionally, intimidating demeanour. Fir wands were called 'the survivor's wand'.
Hawthorn Draco Malfoy's wand Hawthorn wands might be particularly suited to healing magic, but they were also adept at curses, and 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 was not easy to master, however, and one should only ever consider placing a hawthorn wand in the hands of a witch or wizard of proven talent.
Hazel Sybill Trelawney's wand Hazel wands often reflected its owner's emotional state and 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. 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 their 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 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.
Hornbeam Viktor Krum's 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. A particularly fine-tuned and sentient wand.
Garrick Ollivander'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.
Larch Celestina Warbeck's wand Larch wands had a reputation for instilling confidence and courage in the user. 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.
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.[3]
Mahogany James Potter's wand The mahogany tree symbolised strength, safety, protectiveness, and practicality. Likewise, the wand wood could reflect James I's character, in particular, his protectiveness of Harry, his son.
Maple A Garrick Ollivander wand Their ideal owners were nature travellers and explorers; 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, inability, and status.
Pear Pear trees produced wands of splendid magical powers. 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 the most resilient.
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 relied upon consistency, strength and uniform power, and were always the happiest when working with a witch or wizard of clear moral vision. The existence of these wands and its owners was cited as evidence against a myth that poplar wands never chose politicians.
Evangeline Orpington's wand
Prickly ash Chadwick Boot's wand Created for him by No-Maj James Steward.
Red oak 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 beside 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.
Reed Though Garrick Ollivander himself did not use it, his associate in the Hogsmeade branch was known to sell wands made from reed. Corresponded to one of the months of the Celtic calendar, from 28 October to 24 November.[4]
Rosewood Fleur Delacour's wand
Rowan Rowan wands generally produced powerful, hard-to-break Defensive Charms. Rowan wands were also noted for its believed disassociation with the Dark Arts. Perhaps for these reasons, Rowan had become associated with pure-hearted wizards, though Ollivander noted that Rowan wands could also match and even outperform others in duels.
Silver lime According to Pottermore, silver lime was an incredibly unusual and attractive wood that worked best for Seers and those skilled at Legilimency. It was greatly in vogue in the nineteenth century when 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.
Spruce Spruce wands 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. 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. However, when a spruce wand met its match, who was 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
Swamp mayhaw Seraphina Picquery's wand According to Pottermore, Violetta Beauvais, a wandmaker from New Orleans, used the wood for all of her wands.[5]
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 wood was known for wand making in the United States.
Vine Hermione Granger's wand Vine wands were among the less common types, 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 wands seemed strongly attracted by personalities with hidden depths, and Garrick Ollivander himself had found them more sensitive than any other when it came to instantly detect a prospective match.
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. 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 well-founded reputation for enabling advanced, non-verbal magic. The willow wands there had consistently selected those of greatest potential, rather than those who felt they had little to learn.
Ron Weasley's second 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 certain, in Ollivander's experience, was that the yew wand never chose 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,[4] 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."[4]

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.[4]

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

Appearances

Notes and references

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