World Tree

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This article is about the World Trees. For the portals to the Emerald Dream, see Great Tree.

“Even the World Trees must bow to the cycle of life. Everything born will die. No one understands this better than the Bronze Dragonflight.”

Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu, the Dragon Aspects, blessing Nordrassil, the first World Tree.

World Trees are ancient, massive trees connected to the Emerald Dream, and which serve as home to the night elves.[1] After the Great Sundering, Nordrassil was created by the Dragon Aspects to seal the second Well of Eternity. Through it, they blessed the night elves with many gifts such as immortality. Fandral Staghelm and his closest followers would later secretly cut six branches from Nordrassil to grow five Great Trees and the greatest branch to grow the World Tree Andrassil, but they were forced to fell it when the Old God Yogg-Saron tried to corrupt it, renaming it Vordrassil.

With Nordrassil burned during the Third War, the druids of the Cenarion Circle led by Fandral Staghelm grew a new world tree named Teldrassil with the aid of the Circle of Ancients, though it would not receive the blessing of the Aspects. The shaman of the Earthen Ring and the druids eventually managed to heal Nordrassil as well.

Shaladrassil in Val'sharah now on the Broken Isles is known to have existed since before the Sundering,[2] and an unnamed world tree exists in the Nightmare as well, though their origins are unknown.

World Trees


According to one ancient myth, Azeroth's first World Tree was Elun'Ahir, planted by the titan Eonar during the war between the titans and the Old Gods in order to spread Life's influence. Like the later World Trees, Elun'Ahir originated from a branch of the Mother Tree G'Hanir, gifted to Eonar by the goddess Elune. Elun'Ahir was short-lived, as Aman'Thul tore it from the earth shortly after its planting. However, if the tale is to be believed, its roots still endure in an unknown location under the protection of mysterious guardians.[3]


Nordrassil on the summit of Mount Hyjal.

Nordrassil, which means "Crown of the Heavens", was the original World Tree planted on the summit of Mount Hyjal after the War of the Ancients, grown from a seed of G'Hanir. Nordrassil's roots grow deep into the earth, spreading life-giving energy across the world.[4] It was blessed by the Dragon Aspects to grant immortality to the night elves and to allow their druids to enter the Emerald Dream. The power was unleashed after the Battle of Mount Hyjal and Nordrassil was devastated by this event. By Cataclysm, Nordrassil has regrown, but Nozdormu's lost blessing never returned.


Teldrassil before its destruction.

Located on an island of the same name, off the coast of northern Kalimdor, the giant tree Teldrassil — which means "Crown of the Earth" — was an unsuccessful attempt by Archdruid Fandral Staghelm and his compatriots to restore the night elves' immortality, lost with the near destruction of Nordrassil. Teldrassil was eventually blessed by Alexstrasza and Ysera years later, but not by Nozdormu. It was the youngest of the World Trees until it was attacked and destroyed during the War of the Thorns, which also apparently destroyed most of the night elf population.[5]

Andrassil / Vordrassil

Andrassil as seen within the Emerald Dream.

Andrassil, the "Crown of the Snow",[6] was a World Tree located in the Grizzly Hills of southern Northrend. It was grown from a branch taken from Nordrassil by Fandral Staghelm and his druids in order to stop the spread of saronite in Northrend. Without the blessings of the Aspects however, it was vulnerable to the Old Gods' corruption. The ancient druids were forced to fell the tree, which they renamed Vordrassil, the "Broken Crown".[6] It has since become the site of the furbolg city of Grizzlemaw.[7] The tree's roots had pierced the prison of the Old God Yogg-Saron, leading to the corruption of the furbolg.[8] Andrassil allowed the Old Gods access into the Emerald Dream, from which they created the Emerald Nightmare.[6]

Within the Emerald Dream, Andrassil still stands tall, even as the Emerald Nightmare corrupts the rest of the area.[9]


Shaladrassil is a World Tree situated in Val'sharah on the Broken Isles. It has been corrupted by the Emerald Nightmare and also serves as a gateway into the Emerald Dream. After the War of the Ancients, many surviving satyrs were rounded up. Thaon Moonclaw argued to execute them all but was overruled, and they were placed in an eternal sleep deep beneath the roots of the tree. With the return of Xavius, the satyrs have broken free.[10]


Amirdrassil, meaning "Crown of Harmony",[11] was grown from a seed formed by the Winter Queen and Elune, and planted by Tyrande Whisperwind in the Ancient Bough.[12] Crafted from the souls of deceased night elves who perished from the Burning of Teldrassil, it was guarded by the green dragonflight safely within the cradle of the Emerald Dream.[13] The Dream Wardens rose to defend Amirdrassil when Fyrakk and his allies invaded the Dream. Following Fyrakk's death, Amirdrassil blossomed into Azeroth on the Dragon Isles.

Unnamed tree

There is a world tree in the Emerald Dream's counterpart of Un'Goro Crater that has been taken by the Emerald Nightmare and is now home to Il'gynoth.[14]

Great Trees

Main article: Great Tree

In an effort to stop the spread of saronite throughout the world, Fandral Staghelm and his closest followers took six enchanted branches from Nordrassil and planted them in Ashenvale, Crystalsong Forest, Feralas, Duskwood, and the Hinterlands. These Great Trees successfully scoured the saronite deposits from their respective regions and, heartened by their success, the druids planted the last and greatest bough in Northrend, where it grew with astonishing speed into the World Tree known as Andrassil.[6]

Notes and trivia

  • It is not clear whether Nordrassil or Shaladrassil is older. While Nordrassil has been referred to as the first World Tree,[15] Oakheart is stated to be an offshoot of Shaladrassil that has purportedly survived the Great Sundering,[2] which in turn suggests that Shaladrassil predated the Sundering. This would make Shaladrassil older than Nordrassil, as Nordrassil was only planted after the Sundering.
  • An early concept map for World of Warcraft depicted a world tree in the middle of Quel'Thalas. It could have been the later inspiration for Thas'alah.
  • Aldrassil fits the naming pattern of World Trees, despite not being one itself.
  • The idea of a World Tree comes from Norse mythology's Yggdrasil. Like Nordrassil, it has a Well beneath it, the Well of Urd. It also has a connection with dragons in the form of the great Níðhöggr, who however gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil. The idea of a beast gnawing at the roots may be a connection to Yogg-Saron and Andrassil as well. Chris Metzen has indicated that Warcraft's world trees were specifically inspired by Marvel Comics' take on Norse mythology, in Walter Simonson's run on the comic series The Mighty Thor.[16]


See also