Dryadscome from Greek mythology and are female tree spirits. They are generally very shy and hard to catch a glimpse of as they hide deep in their forests. The dryads are tied to their trees; they will become injured when the tree is injured, and they die when the tree dies. For this reason, the Gods punish any human who harms or cuts down trees without first propitiating the dryads.
You’ll see them at night, weaving flowers into each other’s hair under the streetlights. Florists everywhere are finding anonymous donations on their doorsteps; there has been, the news reporter says, a resurgence of bees. You wake up and there’s an oak tree growing out of a crack in the pavement. You say, “I could swear that wasn’t there yesterday."
In Greek mythology the Daphnaie are the nymphs of the laurel trees.
Like the other Dryads, they are the spirits of the trees and spend
most of their time sleeping behind the bark. They only come out to dance
when the coast is clear.
They seem to be named after Daphne
(‘Laurel’), one of the naiads who was plagued with unwanted sexual
advances from Apollo until she cried to Gaia [or in some versions her
father the rivergod Peneios or Ladon] for help. The Earth Mother took
her and turned Daphne into a laurel tree.
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1. Greek mythology: beings that live in trees. Hamadryads are born bonded to a specific tree. It is believed that hamadryads are the actual tree, whilst dryads are the entities or spirits of the trees. If the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died along with it.
2. another name for the King Cobra.
Etymology: from Latin Hamādryas, from Greek Hamadruas, from hama, “together with” + drus, “tree”.
Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology. In Greek drys signifies ‘oak,’ from an Indo-European root *derew(o)- 'tree’ or 'wood’. Thus dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. “Such deities are very much overshadowed by the divine figures defined through poetry and cult,” Walter Burkert remarked of Greek nature deities (Burkert 1986, p174). Normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess Artemis who was known to be a friend to most nymphs.
The dryads of ash trees were called the Meliai. The ash-tree sisters tended the infant Zeus in Rhea’s Cretan cave. Rhea gave birth to the Meliai after being made fertile by the blood of castrated Ouranos. They were also sometimes associated with fruit trees.
Dryads, like all nymphs, were supernaturally long-lived and tied to their homes, but some were a step beyond most nymphs. These were the hamadryads who were an integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For these reasons, dryads and the Greek gods punished any mortals who harmed trees without first propitiating the tree-nymphs.
In the myth of Daphne, the nymph was pursued by Apollo and became a dryad associated with the laurel.