According to Greek mythology, all the trees in the Dodona (northwestern Greece, Epirus) grove (the forest beside the sanctuary of Zeus) became endowed with the gift of prophecy, and the oaks not only spoke and delivered oracles while in a living state, when built into the ship Argo the wood spoke and warned of approaching calamities.
The rustling of the leaves on an Oak tree was regarded as the voice of Zeus.
Some of the more well known talking trees:
- The Greek Talking Elm: Philostratus spoke about two philosophers arguing beneath an elm tree in Ethiopia which spoke up to add to the conversation.
- The Indian Tree of the Sun and the Moon: Told the future. Two parts of the tree trunk spoke depending on the time of day; in the daytime the tree spoke as a male and at night it spoke as a female. Alexander the Great and Marco Polo are said to have visited this tree.
- The weeping Date palm tree: The Prophet Muhammad, when delivering his sermons used to stand by or lean on a date palm tree. When a pulpit was built elsewhere and Muhammad started to give his sermon from the pulpit, the tree began to cry like a child. Muhammad then descended from his pulpit and consoled the tree by embracing it and stroking it. The Prophet said, "It was crying for (missing) what it used to hear of religious knowledge given near to it." This incident is recorded in the authentic Islamic Hadith traditions and is said to have been witnessed by everyone present at the congregation.
- Oracular Trees are sometimes attributed with the ability to speak to individuals, especially those gifted in divination. In particular, Druids were said to be able to consult Oak trees for divinatory purposes, as were the Streghe with Rowan trees.
- In Ireland a tree may help a person look for a leprechaun's gold, although it normally does not know where the gold is.
- In Dante's Inferno, the protagonists (Dante and Virgil) speak with suicides who have been turned into trees in Hell.
- The Forest of Fighting Trees in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz attack the Scarecrow. In the 1939 film version, apple trees become annoyed with Dorothy when she picks an apple from one of them. The Scarecrow helps by provoking the trees into throwing their apples at him, which Dorothy can then collect.
- In Hugh Lofting's 1928 novel Doctor Dolittle in the Moon, the lunar flowers and trees are intelligent and capable of communication by using scents, the sounds of wind through branches, etc.
- The novel A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony includes the character Justin Tree, a talking tree. The character returns in Zombie Lover and Swell Foop.
- The 1986 film Three Amigos features an encounter between the main characters and the Singing Bush.
- In the Disney movie Pocahontas, the heroine is advised by a tree known as Grandmother Willow.
- In the first season episode "The Son Also Draws" of the Fox animated comedy Family Guy, Peter and Chris Griffin go on a vision quest and hallucinate talking to trees.
- In The Legend of Zelda series, the Great Deku Tree is a massive sentient tree who helps Link in his quests, and also serves as the guardian of the forest/earth.
- In the Fallout video game series, Harold is a character who has, through viral mutation/radiation poisoning, become symbiotically combined with a tree. Harold is a recurring character in the series, and begins as a mutated human with a small tree growing out of his head, but later resembles a fully grown tree with a wooden human form embedded in it.
- In the 2012 Odd Future mixtape OF Vol. 2, talking trees are alluded to in songs including Analog 2 and White.
- Encyclopedia of Mythical Trees and Deities (note: link points to a holding/links page. Info no longer available.)
- Encyclopedia of Mythical Trees and Deities - archived version