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A gargantuan tree fills the sky. Usually situated in a breezy land of ice and snow or a sprawling forest or maybe even a green, green field. It can be seen from miles away...

This is a very old archetype, one that spans the ages and cultures. It has been called Yggdrasil, the Axis Mundi, and The Tree of Life among other names. Many works of fiction have embraced it quite thoroughly.

The Tree is often used to substitute for a deity as a Big Good by the virtue of being more easily acceptable; whereas gods can have various motivations the viewers may not agree with, the World Tree is more akin to an impersonal Sentient Cosmic Force; it preserves balance and harmony without conscious effort, and seldom can be communicated with directly, although it often shows hints of having a will of its own. The health of the World Tree is tied to that of the world itself; injuring it may trigger Gaia's Vengeance, and cutting it down outright could spell The End of the World as We Know It. Fortunately, if the World Tree is destroyed over the plot's course, often a new one will be born from a seed at the conclusion, once the threat is dealt with; representing rebirth and restoration of the natural order of things. Compare Ouroboros.


On a symbolic level, besides the obvious Green Aesop, it may represent the connection that all living things have, or a promise given by one character to another. Sometimes, it is the representation of The Lifestream and its influence extends beyond life itself, in which case it symbolizes eternity.

Of course, anything this spiritually significant is very popular to produce evil versions. Evil World Trees often pervert the concept of "oneness" by subverting promises and spiritual connection into either spreading The Corruption in form of Alien Kudzu, or absorbing everything into itself.

The World Tree may exist between worlds, with its roots in one and its branches in another. It may even be a Wood Between The Worlds. It's naturally a Genius Loci. Nature's rough equivalent to the Starscraper. See also Layered World and The Tower. Compare Tree Vessel and Tower of Babel, the Biblical counterpart of it.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ghost in the Shell: There is a large tree of life painted on the wall of the final showdown, which of course was lifted straight out of one of Mamoru Oshii's earlier films called Angel's Egg.
  • In Rozen Maiden, the Tree exists in the Dreamworld, and dreamwalkers can get to other people's hearts via it.
  • In Ah! My Goddess, "Yggdrasil" is the name of the computer system that connects all things. It is also the name of the original World Tree of Norse Mythology, which underlies much of the series. In the the Ah! My Goddess OVA, Belldandy and Keiichi made a promise long ago that affected Yggdrasil greatly. It also looks like a tree. A very odd kind of tree, with three intertwined trunks that form an endless triple helix.
  • In The Vision of Escaflowne when Van hovers at the edge of life and death in an Angst Coma, unable to comprehend anyone, he sits at the foot of the Tree.
  • In Rumbling Hearts (The Eternity That You Wish For, Rumbling Hearts) promises made at a tree on a hill are crucial to the plot.
  • In Castle in the Sky, the mystic city of Laputa is built around a huge, millennial tree. At the end of the film, the city is destroyed, but the tree lives on and finds a new home in outer space.
  • In Gunnm, an Orbital Lift threatens to fall down due to the lost of its upper end, thus inflicting massive damage on earth. Main character Alita forms herself into a giant lotus petal which reinforces the Lift, thus preventing the apocalyptical downfall.
  • In Naruto, it is eventually revealed that the source of all chakra was the Shinju, a massive tree that grew from the blood of the dead and was worshipped as a god. According to legend, after the mother of the Sage of Six Paths stole some of its power, it became the Ten Tailed beast in an effort to reclaim it. The truth is that said mother, Kaguya Otsutsuki, didn't like the idea of her sons obtaining the power of chakra she originally possessed, and merged with the tree to create the Ten-Tails to take that power back.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses the Kaballistic Tree Of Life. The concept of breaching the barrier that people put around themselves is integral to the plot.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: Mahora Academy literally has the World Tree on campus. It is the setting of the last episode, where promises made in the past are remembered, and used as a battery for frequent time travel in the manga. Also in the manga it glows for one week per 22 years, makes confessions of love (or requests for 'deep' kisses) made near it magically binding, and provides enough ambient magic to power an army of robots. Also, it's one of the most powerful foci for magical energy on the entire Earth. And it has an old gateport to Mundus Magicus beneath it. And in the late 200s / early 300s chapter-wise, the severing of all other gateports and the tremendous influx of chaotic energy from MM is affecting the World Tree, causing it to glow with extreme amounts of power. If/when Mundus Magicus collapses (which, in Ch. 317, it starts doing), the backlash of energy will explode outwards from the Tree, leveling Mahora Academy and - presumably - killing thousands.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Tsunami, the goddess of the Juraian empire, is a massive, intelligent tree (though we never see her tree form, which is one of four forms she hasnote ). Every Juraian ship has one of her offspring or a descendant of those offspring as its heart, often acting as a miniature world-tree for the very natural-looking landscape that makes up the ship's interior and which is much larger than the ship which contains it.
  • In Manga/X1999, the promise made between rival-clan onmyouji Sakurazuka Seishirou and Sumeragi Subaru under an enormous cherry tree is the cause of later tragedy.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star revolves around restoring the seven fountains that protect a version of the World Tree in the mythological sense. Meanwhile, in town, the Sky Tree is a World Tree more in the sense of this trope, and is the location for many key events.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: It's not overly significant, but the manga does show a massive tree into which Kaoru and Aoi carved their names and heights as small children (around the time of their Childhood Marriage Promise), and again as adults.
  • Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew features a (living) rock formation resembling a tree, called the Tree of Beginning, which is linked to the Legendary Pokémon Mew.
  • Digimon: Yggdrasil appears in the franchise's lore as a sentient computer responsible for maintaining the Digital World, making it a metaphorical "tree" that sustains the alternate universe. However, Yggdrasil also tends to take the form of a Physical God, and oftentimes serves as an antagonist. Yggdrasil factors into the plot of several of the games, the CGI movie Digimon X-Evolution, the manga Digimon Next, and the Digimon Savers; in the latter, Yggdrasil resides in a more literal example of this trope known as the Server Tree. Later material from Bandai revealed the existence of a second computer that oversees a second Digital World known as Iliad, and its name is Homeros. As you might expect, this one takes cues from Classical Mythology.
  • In Slayers, the city of Sairaag is protected by a giant tree. Well, for a while.
  • Interstella 5555 had the band members burying their fallen comrade under the Tree, where his soul then ascends.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: One of the early episodes has this as a Monster of the Week; one of the corrupt Jewel Seeds is present during two people's love confession, and absorbs them and turns into a giant tree that starts eating everything.
  • MapleStory: The anime adaptation has a World Tree actually named like that.
  • Sailor Moon: The aliens Eiru and An in the Makaiju arc of the second season had the Makaiju ("Doom Tree" in the dub), which was an evil giant tree that required the energy of humans to live. Eiru and An fed the tree by sending "cardians" (monsters brought to life from cards) to suck energy from humans. Eventually we learn that the tree was originally the progenitor and life source of Eiru and An's people, but after warfare destroyed the population down to only the two survivors, the Makaiju began to die and Eiru and An had no idea of how to restore it. It got corrupted when Eiru and An misguidedly started feeding it life energy from living creatures and became twisted and malignant. The Makaiju asks Sailor Moon to purify it, and is then reborn as a little space sapling, and Eiru and An set off to find a new home somewhere for it.
  • One Piece:
    • The Tree of Knowledge, which was basically a massive library and was Robin's favorite hangout as a child, as well as the place where her only friends worked. Too bad those World Government dudes destroyed it. And according to Franky, The Thousand Sunny was also built from a massive tree that was in the middle of a battling country. The cannonballs that would constantly hit it gradually made it stronger and stronger. That tree was called Adam.
    • Fishman Island gets its sunlight from a tree called Eve, that grows on the ocean's surface and its roots go all the way down to the ocean floor where the island is.
  • Mnemosyne: Yggdrasil. It is the source of immortals and angels, creating them by spreading 'time spores' every now and then. Anything that touches a time spore invariably becomes either immortal or an angel. Only females (the protagonist's pet dog is also immortal) become immortal and only males become angels. In a subversion of the World Tree's significant symbolism, Yggdrasil's motives for causing all this is to expand its knowledge and data, and thus is nothing more than a Magical Library in the form of a giant tree.
  • Princess Tutu: The Oak Tree used to be a place where Story-Spinners gathered to train, but was cut down long before the story begins. However, there's a rock one can still touch to connect to the roots of the tree and speak with it. Fakir attempts this, but he's sucked into the tree, which takes him on a trippy, naked philosophical journey while it seems to attempt to make Fakir a new World Tree himself. He almost agrees to it, saying he will "watch over everyone", and is only saved when Princess Tutu calls out to him and he recognizes Ahiru/Duck's voice. A lot of the imagery in the scene fits the legends well, particularly when it shows the tree in its former glory being connected to the gears of the story.
  • Wolf's Rain features a "tree of the beginning", which the characters pass by just before the final scene.
  • Romeo X Juliet turns Escalus into one of these. The tree is responsible for keeping Verona afloat. Apparently it also demands sacrifices once in a while. At the end it is destroyed and Verona lands safely in an ocean, due to Juliet's efforts.
  • Windaria: The 'Tree of Life' in The Valley. Its huge, refered to as the region's 'Guardian Spirit' and is prayed to by the inhabitants for health and happiness.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Ging, Gon's father, meets his son at the top of the aptly named World Tree, known to be 1784 meters from the ground. Ging reveals that this World Tree is only a young tree that refused to grow any taller. Makes you wonder how big a fully grown World Tree is in the Hunter X Hunter World...
  • In Saint Beast, the giant tree that stands in front of the training hall is infused with memories of the angels who spent time there, allowing Kira and Maya to access them and gather courage before taking their first step toward adulthood.
  • In SD Gundam Force, the Spirit Tree of Lacroa is so big that the royal family had its castle built around it, and the town is built on its roots. It was Taken for Granite by the Dark Axis, and the first we hear of it is when the Dark Axis is trying to revive it for some reason. In the series' second half we learn that the Tree can create Spirit Eggs that give birth to sacred spirits and Knight Gundams. This power was sealed off by the royal family so the Dark Axis couldn't use it to sacrifice Knight Gundams to the General. After the Dark Axis is defeated for good and Lacroa is un-petrified, Princess Rele undoes the seal.
  • In Sword Art Online, the game Alfheim Online, based on Norse Mythology, has the Word Tree Yggdrasil at the center of the game. There, players can attempt the Grand Quest, a difficult challenge where the objective is to get past an endless army of tough boss-level monsters to get to the top. Clearing the quest allows the player who reached the top to have an audience with the fairy king Oberon and turn their race into Alfs, lifting the restrictions on their flight. In reality, the Grand Quest is Unwinnable by Design, because Oberon is actually Sugou Nobuyuki and the World Tree is where he's keeping Asuna prisoner and experimenting on the 300 other minds he captured from Sword Art Online after it was cleared. After the game is relaunched, the World Tree is fully accessible, all races had their flight restrictions removed, and a city was created at the top of the World Tree.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero has Shinju-sama, a godly World Tree that needs to be protected by the Magical Girl protagonists. When a virus spread throughout the world 300 years ago it created a barrier to protect Shikoku and the island has been cut off from the world since.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, while the Tree of Life isn't gigantic, its life force sustains the balance of nature and the world.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero Naofumi is disgusted when he discovers the "God Tree" is in fact the crepe tree he created for Kiel, having grown enormous in the centuries since.
  • In Ark Yggdrasil grows in the Underground World and acts a seal binding a powerful demon in Niflheim. Ark later learns that there were originally four World Trees, three of which died during the Dark Century. Restoring them will return lost continents.
  • In Mob Psycho 100, the Divine Tree which is actually a giant head of Broccoli fills a similar purpose, as it springs up in the middle of Seasoning City following Mob's battle against the leader of the Claw organization, and causes anyone who eats of it becomes a worshipper of Mob due to it being created by Mob putting his and Touichirou's excess power in some broccoli seeds he had in his pocket.
  • In Little Witch Academia, Yggdrasil is the source of all magic; fueled by people's belief. It thrived in the Golden Age of Magic, but has largely disappeared in the Modern Era. In the finale, Akko and Diana using the World Reconstruction Magic to destroy the Noir Fuel Spirit Missile, combined with their inspiring people around the globe with the act, is implied to have revived it.
  • Senki Zesshou Symphogear: The tree appears in the fifth and final season. It has a much more sinister meaning then most other examples. It's actually a biological computer that uses human's as a source of of its power, humans themselves being their own individual biological computers that can connect to it. Its creators, the Custodians, original used it as a terraforming device, but Shem-ha, a traitor of theirs and the Greator Scope Villain of the entire series, attempted to use it as a way to turn humanity in monsters and slaves to her will in an attempt to destroy the others. Due to not being able to utilize Humans due to the Curseof Babel, she instead uses the World Wide Web to power it instead.
  • Attack on Titan reveals late in its run that Ymir came across a strange giant tree and fell in the pond surrounding it, which turned her into the first titan. The liquid in the pond would later become known as spinal fluid. Myth says that Ymir came across the origin of life, although that was all that was known of it by the present day as the part about the tree and its fluid were lost to history.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the Hidden Arsenal storyline, the Naturia Sacred Tree is a gigantic tree that supports the Insects and Plants of the Naturia. Leoh is the guardian of the tree, but he failed when Elshadoll Midrash attacked it in an attempt at getting its power. Then it turned out the tree had a strange sephirot structure hidden beneath it, and a few Sealed Evils In A Can to boot.
    • There's also a card called "World Tree", which gains counters whenever a Plant-type monster is destroyed.

    Comic Books 
  • The Badger: One issue features an apple from "the Wotan Tree". Since Ygdrassil is supposed to be an ash tree, this is actually a reference to the god Odin (Wotan, from whence we get Wednesday). The scene where a gigantic tree bursts out of a building in the middle of Minneapolis while two martial artists are slugging it out near the top was pretty cool.
  • In Hellboy, Rasputin's immortality is due to having half of his soul buried under Yggdrassil's roots. On one occasion, after one of his plans is completely ruined, he retreats to the base of Yggdrassil in order to rest.
  • Lucifer: Yggdrassil itself turns up.
  • Marvel Comics' The Mighty Thor, being based on Norse Mythology, naturally has it. The film version offers a more scientific explanation: it's a part of the universe that contains the "Nine Realms", nine planetsnote  including Earth / Midgard, Asgard, and Jotunheim. It's simply a collection of galaxies that happens to be tree-shaped.
  • Promethea: Alan Moore combined the World Tree concept with the Kaballistic Tree of Life as a backdrop for the comic. In his notes for a proposed run on Rob Liefeld's Glory, he further expanded upon this concept in order to create a standardized and flexible system of magic for Liefeld's comic universe.

    Fan Works 
  • The Infinite Loops is based around the idea that the world tree computer Yggdrassil from Ah! My Goddess suffered some form of critical damage, forcing the admins to put every world in the multiverse into a time loop while they try to repair things.
  • Disney's War — A Crossover Story: It is mentioned in the first chapter that a tree with many branches is a common metaphor of the Disney Multiverse in the Disney Kingdom's old myths, though the Multiverse probably doesn't look quite like this.
  • In The Flower's Dream, a sapient flower is taught the secret of living in its own dream by an ancient tree that mastered the trick long ago. The flower, however, needs nourishment to keep itself going while it figures out how, so it sends some of the creatures it dreamed up into the tree's dream to gather pollen for it to eat. It's then revealed that the tree's dream is the world of Friendship is Magic, which the tree — the Tree of Harmony from the show — sustains and creates through its dreaming, and the flower's dream is the breezies' pocket dimension. By implication, the dreaming flower is on its way to becoming a life-sustaining world tree of its own.
  • In Slice of Heaven, Nadia wonder if the huge tree in the middle of her Mundane Afterlife town is similar to Yggdrasil.

    Film — Animated 
  • Dragon Ball Z: Inverted in the third movie, Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might: the antagonists come to Earth and plant a seed which sucks the life out of everything and becomes a giant tree that's visible from space in a matter of hours. The main characters have to destroy the tree to stop it from destroying the world, and so that it can't bear a fruit that will give whoever eats it tremendous power.
  • Kaena: The Prophecy is set amidst the branches of a giant tree that connects two planets together.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Fountain pretty much entirely revolves around this trope, particularly the Christian Tree of Life and Mayan World Tree variations. It actually is the titular Fountain of Youth, apparently, since you drink its sap. (Though eating the bark is just as effective.) It can also grant immortality, but probably not the way you'd expect. "Together we will live forever," indeed. It apparently outlasts Earth and its health is seemingly tied to the health of the planet. It is suggested that the future version of the tree is a seedling planted over Izzy's grave by present-Tom. Before future-Tom put it in a spaceship, the original Tree was planted in a pool of water on top of a pyramid and guarded by a Mayan sacrifical priest with a flaming sword.
  • Avatar (2009) features a planet whose ecology is powered by World Trees and Gaia's Revenge.
  • The Thor movies (and, by extension, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe) have one, which binds the nine realms (Earth/Midgard, Asgard, Jotunheim, etc.) together. You can see Yggdrasil hovering as the universe itself during the end credits, as well as being formed in the lightning arcs striking the ceiling of Heimdall's observatory, whenever the Bifrost is active.
  • Eden Log: The Tree has definite elements of this. For all intents and purposes, the entire world shown in the film revolves around it and is tied to it, and when Tolbiac poisons it at the end it brings about the end of the world.
  • Knowing: The great tree in the next world looks like it at the very end.

  • In The Lost Years of Merlin, Merlin plants a seed in the last book which, we are told, results in a new magical realm called Avalon. The Sequel Series, The Great Tree Of Avalon, makes it clear that this version of Avalon is a literal tree, with each of its roots as a different region. The protagonists then gain the difficult quest of climbing the trunk to reach the branches, which reach into the stars and a doorway to the Spirit World.
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy: The plot of The Elfstones of Shannara concerns the Ellcrys, the tree created by elven magic that keeps the world safe(ish) from demons.
  • Forgotten Realms: In the Starlight And Shadows trilogy by Elaine Cunningham. To retain her innate drow magic on surface indefinitely Liriel Baenre follows a rune quest: she must find the sacred tree Yggsdrasil's Child and scratch on its bark rune with unique ancient artifact. Partial subversion: for conventional perception it's just another ordinary tree in big forest.
  • House of Leaves has Yggdrasil play a minor part in its myriad religious references. The house appears to be boundless in the amount of space it can take up, the material that makes up the more interesting parts of the house appears to be ash, and it resides on Ash Tree Lane. There's even an odd poem on the inside of the back cover that describes Yggdrasil.
  • The Belgariad: The Tree in the Vale of Aldur: it's been around since the creation of the world and will exist until the world's end, its branches spread to shade acres of land, it's the only tree of its type, and the sorcerers who live in the Vale theorize that it has a purpose different from ordinary trees.
  • American Gods sees this figure greatly (if metaphorically). Interestingly, it is implied that there are multiple "world trees" on Earth, though the reason for this is never explained (it's probably because in American Gods All Myths Are True, and as mentioned below there are plenty of variations on the World Tree.)
  • In Symphony of Ages, by Elizabeth Haydon, the protagonists travel along the root of one of the FIVE world trees, through the center of the planet, to an identical tree on the other end.
  • The Wheel of Time: There's a Tree of Life in the forbidden city of Rhuidean. In a reference to the Norse god Odin, Mat is hanged from this tree as a price for knowledge. The tree, Avendesora, is the last of a human-engineered species of tree called Chora, which were once commonplace, cultivated in groves purely for the calming aura that they produce. A cutting of the Tree was once made, named Avendoraldera, and gifted to another nation by the keepers of Avendesora, where it grew until a very greedy king cut it down to make his throne, an act that sparked the bloodiest war in centuries.
  • The Fionavar Tapestry: Paul volunteers to be sacrificed on the Summer Tree.
  • In The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King, the eponymous tower is representative of the World Tree, in that it holds all the worlds in the multiverse together.
    • Given that The Tower appears in some form in every universe, but only as a tower in the "keystone" world, and that at least one of these forms is a plant (a rose), it's entirely possible that somewhere it is a literal World Tree.
    • Moreover, at one point it's suggested the Great Old Ones cut down their version of the World Tree and replaced it with the Tower, to make travel between dimensions possible through Magitek. This of course had unforeseen consequences.
  • In the Liaden Universe, Jelaza Kazone, the gigantic tree that literally lies at the foundation of clan Korval's family tree, and which in modern times is about a quarter of a mile high. The name - Jela's Fulfillment - is a remembrance of the promise that Jela's partner made to him that she would protect the tree - a promise that is considered (according to Val Con, the current head of the family) to have led directly to the colonization of the planet, since she needed a safe place for the Tree. It is an intelligent being (although most outsiders don't seem to be aware of this), and is considered a member of the family.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: A world tree is mentioned very occasionally and always in passing, alluding specifically to Yggdrasil.
    • The Magician's Nephew features a Tree of Life. The White Witch Jadis eats an apple to gain immortality without permission, and the title nephew (Digory Kirke) brings back an apple to protect Narnia from her, and then receives an apple from Aslan himself that cures his sick mother in the real world.
    • The second apple drops a seed in the Real World which grows up to be another tree. When said tree is cut down many years later, it is made into a wardrobe for Digory, which sets out the connection between Narnia and the world. Meanwhile, the lantern-crossbar thrown by Jadis grows into an eternally-burning gaslamp in the heart of Narnia.
    • The Magician's Nephew also features the Wood Between the Worlds, which connects all worlds together in a Dark Tower-like fashion. It can only be accessed by wearing some special rings that either take you there or take you back home. The rings are sealed and buried by Polly and Digory so they won't be used by others, are dug out by Edmund and Peter decades later, and are presumably lost when almost everyone from London dies in the train incident and are brought to Narnia forever.
  • Rainbow Mars, by Larry Niven, has a tree that sticks up into space and drains entire planets of their water. It's explicitly compared to Yggdrasil.
  • Discworld occasionally mentions Yggdrasil (a world with a World Tree is briefly seen in Equal Rites, along with one surrounded by the Midgard Serpent). More recently in Making Money the Cabinet of Curiosity, an endless magical cabinet where drawers extend from the sides of other drawers, opens out into an enormous fractal tree-shape.
  • Gradisil by Adam Roberts, uses this metaphorically to refer to the shape of the Earth's magnetic field at the poles, which are used by the characters to propel electromagnetic flight. The title character's name is a misspelling/mispronunciation of Yggdrasil.
  • In the Hyperion Cantos there is a world called Gods' Grove which consisted of forests of Mammoth-trees and a large world tree. It is burned due to an attack of aggressive aliens; its burned stump is some kilometers high. Later events consist of a Dyson sphere made out of a tree—which is also burnt.
  • The Silmarillion: Telperion and Laurelin, the massive holy Trees of Light, used to alternately shine with silver and gold light from their flowers, lighting the entire Blessed realm... until Morgoth and Ungoliantë sucked out their life and incurably poisoned them. Before they died, Telperion's last flower and Laurelin's last (and only) fruit were made into the Moon and the Sun respectivelynote , lighting the whole world but with incalculably inferior light. The only pure and untainted light left of them was caught in the Silmarils, made by Fëanor before the Darkening.
    • The Two Trees were sufficiently holy (and large) that not only were their (damaged) fruits sufficient to light the Moon and the Sun, but the Silmarils made from them power the whole mythos. Eventually, one is put in the sky where it becomes the Evening and Morning Star (a.k.a. Venus), one is thrown in the ocean, and one falls into a fiery pit with its owner where it burns at the heart of the earth. The light of Eärendil's star is captured in the Phial of Galadriel, making that the reflected light of the Trees two times over. After Dagor Dagorath it is said the Silmarils will be recovered and renunited, and Yavanna will use them to bring the Two Trees back to life.
    • The various White Trees were either made in the image of Telperion, or descended from its seedlings/cuttings (depending on which version of the mythopoeia you read). The withered tree of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings is the "daughter" of the White Tree of Númenor, which is the "daughter" of the one from Tol Eressëa, which is the "daughter" of the one from Tirion, etc.
  • The Last Yggdrasil: The eponymous tree is the last survivor of a species that looks like Exactly What It Says on the Tin, in the middle of what is otherwise apparently near-perfect wheat-growing country. Humans, having settled on the planet, have logged out the rest of the species and are in the process of cutting down the eponymous tree, which used to be significant to the now-extinct native intelligent species' religion. Far too late to keep the tree from dying of the damage it has sustained, the humans deduce that the tree's species was a vital link in the ecosystem, and without it, they will probably lose most of their crops as related species — such as those that keep crop-eating insects in check — in their turn become extinct.
  • In The Defeat Of Gilgames, a science fiction novel based on a short story, features a planet that has its entire ecosystem controlled by an enormous sentient tree.
  • Star Wars Legends: Before Episode III, the Expanded Universe had long described the Wookiees' homeworld of Kashyyyk as having an ecology that was like a layered deathtrap. The core was the wroshyr trees, kilometers tall and so massive the entirety of the Wookiees' civilization—every city and town—is built atop just the highest layer of them. Further, they're so big that the further down you go, the ecology notably shifts, becoming harsher (and thus requiring more deadly animals and secondary plants to survive in it). There are several layers, and going down at least two or three for a hunt is a rite of passage for young Wookiees—and only in stories has anyone made it to the bottom layer and come out alive. On top of this, when she visits Leia notices that the branches seem to have grown together, and realizes that all the trees in a cluster, if not in the entire planet, must be one giant organism.
  • Doctor Who New Adventures: In Sky Pirates!, one of the planetoids visited is a giant tree. Growing in space. When companion Benny sees its she comments that it is a change from the "same old balls".
  • In The Keys To The Kingdom, by Garth Nix, Superior Saturday features the four Drasil trees, which hold up (and continues raising up) the ceiling of the Upper House/Floor of the Incomparable Gardens. The House itself serves this purpose, as it is a vast realm existing outside of reality in the "epicenter of the universe". Apparently, Leaf's family believes in the existence of a World Tree.
  • Summerland is about trying to fix this tree. By playing baseball, no less.
  • The Sea of Trolls, being centered around Norse mythology, features Yggdrassil, but goes beyond the norm by stating that all religions are right and each world is just another branch on the great tree.
  • In The Dresden Files, the Monoc Securities corporation run by Donar Vadderung actually the Norse god Odin himself is housed in a high-rise office building. But its reflection in the Nevernever is the base of an enormous ash tree...
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: Hecate's shadow realm is the home of the World Tree, and Hecate lives in it. It's later revealed that it's grown from one of the seeds of the original World Tree, which grew in Danu Talis and was destroyed during the fall.
  • Iron Druid Chronicles: In the third book, the fact that the protagonist is the last of the ancient druids is the reason why the vampire Leif wants to recruit him for his mission to kill Thor. An earth druid who passed all the tests and rituals has a direct link to all nature and can use this to climb the world tree Yggdrasil. This essentially gives him a back door to the realm of the Norse gods.
  • Spellfall: The Soultrees. They're huge (so huge that walkingfrom one end to another may take days), they have magical powers (including providing food and shelter for mages), souls of dead mages house in the tree so their relatives can speak to them, and they have other magical properties...
  • The Little Prince plays this rather darkly. The title hero explains that a regular baobab, if left unchecked, may develop to this for a small planet, which is very bad, since, sooner or later, its roots will tear the planet apart.
  • Magic: The Gathering: In The Cursed Land, the miniature plane Cridhe has a World Tree/Tree of Life at its center. When this is damaged, Bad Things happen.
  • The Chronicles of Amber contains Ygg, an obvious reference to Yggdrasil. Ygg is a sentient tree that marks the boundary between shadows of Order and Chaos.
  • The Kalevala: In an interesting variation, there's a giant world tree, but it is an evil thing that prevents light from reaching the earth and suffocates all other living things. A hero from the sea has to be summoned to cut it down, and its branches become a source of various spells and enchantments.
  • In The Dark Is Rising series, by Susan Cooper, the last confrontation with the forces of the Dark in Silver on the Tree takes place beneath the boughs of "the midsummer tree, in the Chiltern Hills of England. The tree of life, the pillar of the world... Once every seven hundred years it may be seen in this land, and on it the mistletoe that will bear its silver blossom on that one day. And whoever shall cut the blossom, at the moment when it opens fully from the bud, shall turn events and have the right to command the Old Magic and the Wild Magic, to drive all rival powers out of the world and out of Time."
  • In Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness, the Clans interpret the Northern Lights as the First Tree. However, this is not a universal interpretation: in the fifth book, Fin Kedinn mentions that when he was in the Far North he was laughed at for calling it a tree, because the Ice Clans believe the lights are fires lit by their ancestors to keep warm. He also mentions that the Otter Clan sees the lights as more like a World Reedbed than a World Tree.
  • In Everworld, Yggdrasil is name-dropped once or twice by Norse characters, but the main example is a magic tree that connects the mortal world and Underworld of the African Fantasy Counterpart Culture. Since the African gods are threatening the heroes, they're willing to use Senna's poisonous blood to threaten it.
  • In the Disney Theme Parks-inspired Tales from Adventureland books, the Dominguez Palm, a real tree at Disneyland that was originally planted in 1896 when the park was still orange groves, is depicted as the Eternal Tree, whose roots spread throughout the Earth and are said to grant eternal life.
  • Inheritance Trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin: After The Old God Enefa's power is transferred to Yeine, the goddess raises a colossal, magically infused tree that shades the entire city of Sky in its roots and stretches up beyond the planet's atmosphere. Given the city's utilitarian attitude to divinity, people start building mansions into the trunk.
  • In Trash of the Count's Family, each elf village has a branch of the World tree. The tree itself recides in an especially hidden elf village. It's also sentient, is capable of talking to people, and has mild awareness of happenings all around the world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Star Trek: Voyager, the Talaxian afterlife is said to be a giant forest, in which the largest tree is the "Guiding Tree", at which the dead reunite with loved ones.
  • In Carnivàle, The World Tree is, interestingly enough, connected to the Tattooed Man - the evil, Antichrist-like being also called "the Usher" that Justin Crowe is transforming into - and features greatly in Justin's prophetic dreams of his coming battle with Ben. Justin and Iris make a subversion of the Childhood Marriage Promise under its branches when Justin vows to build his "kingdom" in the valley below, and Iris answers "we'll build it together".

  • Queen of the Wave by Pepe Deluxé. The song "Contain Thyself" speaks of "safeguard[ing] the tree / the tree of the sheltered and free". The liner notes provide more information: it's the Tree of Knowledge from the Garden of Eden, and the entire civilization of Atlantis is based on the wisdom gained when mankind ate of its fruit.
  • Evillious Chronicles: The god Held resides in a gigantic millennial tree in the Millennium Tree Forest. The clearing where he grows is a sacred place of worship for members of the Held sect in the setting's religion. In addition to that, when he eventually dies of old age his successor, Michaela, grows into a new Millennium Tree in his place.

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • The Norse Yggdrasil, along with similar Slavic and Hindi examples, seems to have a prehistoric common root with the Tree of Life described in the Bible (central tree + snake + special fruit).
  • World Trees appear in Chinese and North Asian religions.
  • Older Than Dirt: The oldest embodiment is the Holy Tree of Eridu in Sumeric-Babylonic cosmology.
  • The Mayan World Tree is a ceiba tree (ceiba is a tropical species).
  • The Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree for a number of days to gain knowledge. In fact, in Buddhist mythology, it was believed that the exact spot where the Gotama Buddha attained enlightenment was the first place in the world to exist.
  • There's also the wooden pillar that Osiris was locked in (and reborn from, sort of), in Egyptian myth.
  • The Torah of Judaism is often called the "Tree of Life".
    • The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the cross Jesus hung from before his transformation, both in The Bible. Orthodox Christian hymnography especially loves to make the comparison between both of them in the hymns on Holy Friday.
      • Though the Old Testament makes a clear distinction between the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (which gives knowledge of Good and Evil) and the Tree of Life, which gives eternal life. The cross of Jesus has only been associated by the latter in the Bible; Jacobus de Voragine was the one to claim it was the other tree.
      • The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge are not exactly world trees in the usual sense, in that the world does not center around it, but for all intents and purposes they were this.
  • Almost every shamanistic religion has some sort of World Tree. See The Other Wiki for specific examples.
  • The Book of Mormon features the first protagonist/narrator Nephi experiencing a vision in a dream, where the point of the vision was to use an iron rod as a guide to the Tree of Life, while ignoring a big building full of wicked people who tried to lead the righteous away from the tree.
  • "When Myrddin's Tree shall tumble down, then shall fall Carmarthen town." An ancient Arthurian legend, and possibly Defictionalization. The tree, which sits in the middle of the historical Merlin's hometown, is said to be ancient. The people of Carmarthen (aka the Welsh, who are descended from the Britons) have naturally encased the stump of the old tree in concrete.
  • Ancient Hungarian mythology includes the Világfa - literally 'World Tree'.
  • Ancient Finnish mythology has stories of a huge tree that probably qualifies. See The Kalevala.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: In the lore, every Minecraft world has one of these at the origin, called Yggdrasil. This contains the First Block, a very powerful artifact, and needless to say a very large and plot-significant fight breaks out at the tree.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Deadlands, the spirit world is described as a huge tree, with its roots in the eponymous, hellish Deadlands and its top leafy branches implied to reach a vaguely Judeo-Christian heaven. Subverted in that Christian characters are likely to see Mt. Zion instead of a tree.
  • World Tree RPG, unsurprisingly, takes place on one of these, and takes it to its' logical extents. Metal is rare, most things are made from wood, civilization resides in fortified enclaves on the upper sides of branches while monsters scale the sides...
  • The Nobilis mythology is cored on a vast world tree. The Earth hangs from one of its branches.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Certain editions, most prominently 2nd edition's Planescape setting, featured the 'world ash' Yggdrasil, a huge tree growing in-between the planes. Its branches ended in portals to other planes, making it one of the major nexus points for travelers of the multiverse (Sigil, the main setting for Planescape, being another such nexus).

    4th edition has the World Tree as one of the biggest and most important Primal Spirits; it's the embodiment of the lifeforce of The Multiverse. Not surprisingly, there's an Epic Destiny that revolves around a Primal character ascending to become a guardian of the World Tree.
  • In Exalted, the Primordial Szoreny once took the form of the World Tree, first at the center of Zen-Mu (where his roots created the first solid "land") and then for Creation itself. His bark is a mirrored silver surface, like metal. However, in the Primordial War he was uprooted and imprisoned in the Demon Realm upside down with only his roots showing — now he is (or rather, his roots are) the Silver Forest.
  • In Rocket Age Bata'bik trees are gigantic structures, hundreds of metres tall and up to a kilometre wide found on Venus. These are home to an entire ecology of creatures and other organisms.
  • Beyblade Burst has the Yggdrasil/Yegdrion series Energy Layers.
  • GURPS: Sky-high trees, described in GURPS Fantasy Bestiary, are colossal trees supposed to reach as high as the sky — or, at least, nobody has ever found out how high they actually grow — with trunks as wide across as a castle, a city or a mountain. There are even people living high up in their canopies, with cottages and farms built on the trees' limbs.
  • Rifts: Millennium trees are immense plants — generally as tall as hills — found growing in places of intense magical power, typically where Ley Lines intersect. They never wilt or go dormant, leading some to speculate that their lives work on cycles centuries or millennia in length, and as long as the ley line energy is strong enough they can grow lush and green anywhere, including the middle of scorching deserts or barren tundras. They're found worldwide, but most are found in England. They also grow complex, hollow and perforated boles large enough to serve as apartment buildings and can create supernatural storms and send them rocketing down their ley lines.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn has the Tree of Life, upon which Suldanessellar — the hidden city of the Amnian Elves — is situated. The massive tree is deeply connected to the elves' pantheon of the Seldarine and, in some way, their long lifespan.
  • Boktai: The Solar Tree has a similar function: when it's doing badly, so is the world. In the first two games, your efforts (read: how much you play the game in the sunlight) gradually restore its strength. If you put enough time into it, the tree will become a pink sakura tree in full bloom, and Lita will be so moved she'll stammer several funny Aborted Declarations Of Love.
  • Breath of Fire III: Yggdrasil is one of the gods. There are several minor Yggdrasil around the planet and a central and much larger one, actually as the "Great Wise Tree" in the Japanese version. This one serves a vital part in the plot, works as one of the Masters that grants status upgrades and skills to the party, and one of its seeds is actually a party member, Peco.
    • This actually originated in Breath of Fire II, where Yggdrasil (or Wise Trees) are presented as the final life stage of the Grassmen clan. Just like in its sequel, there are several minor trees around the world, and a giant one helping the party known as Gandaroof (or Gandalf in Japanese).
    • Su Ryong, the Tree Dragon from Breath of Fire IV is a large, tree-shaped dragon and one of the ancient gods helping Ryu in his journey. His assist attack, Holy Circle, provides an absolute defense to any attack for 1 turn, though its not as good as it sound.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow: Seen in the background of the fight against Abaddon. Stands out because before and after, you were descending into the Abyss.
  • Child of Eden: The Playable Epilogue consists of purifying the Tree of Memories, whose leaves are photographs of humanity's happiest moments, while a heartfelt Award-Bait Song plays.
  • In Dark Souls, the Great Hollow is a massive tree entered in the swamps of Blighttown; the journey through it is one very long descent. And as shown in the Ash Lake, there are hundreds more elsewhere supporting the world(s?) above.
  • Darksiders II: The Tree of Life and Death, which connects all the worlds in the cosmos together and allows easy travel between them.
  • In Devil May Cry 5, Red Grave City is being destroyed because a giant supernatural tree - named the Qliphoth - that gives power to demons instead of the usual humans or spirits sprouts in the center of the city, as a twisted allusion to the Yggdrasil of Norse Mythology. And it's spreading.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Elven Alienage has a large tree called the Vhenadahl, the Tree of the People, in the center that is supposed to be a symbol of their lost homeland Arlathan (maybe). In a subversion, the codex describing the tree mentions that the city elves have forgotten why the tree is so important, and that maintaining it is just a habit now. The codex also claims that other alienages have let their trees die and be chopped up for firewood. This might explain why nobody cares if Dog urinates on it to gain Mabari Dominance.
    • The Vhenadahl tree in Kirkwall's Alienage seen in Dragon Age II isn't treated any better. Dalish elves such as Marethari and Merrill treat it with reverence at least. Merrill is shocked that people made a Wallop Mallet, a child's toy, from its wood.
  • Dragon Quest: An "Yggdrasil Leaf" item will bring back someone from the dead.
    • Dragon Quest III has a World Tree hidden in the middle of a forest. Locating and examining the correct tree nets you a Leaf.
    • Dragon Quest VII has the Sacred Tree of Krage, which produces both the usual leaves and Holy Dew, which has its own amazing healing properties. Naturally, this makes it a prime target for the Demon Lord, who tries to eliminate it by brainwashing the entire nearby town into believing they're the Demon Lord...
    • Dragon Quest IX has the Observatory, a floating island that houses guardian angels known as Celestrians. Their task: to nourish the World Tree Yggdrasil. Legend states that when Yggdrasil bears fruit, the Celestrians will be relieved of their duty and sent back up into heaven. Later on, the tree is revealed to be the goddess Celestria, daughter of the Almighty.
  • Earth Eternal: In the lore backstory, the World Tree Yggdrasil is a vast dimensional gateway linking every world in the multiverse together, similar to that in Planescape. Each branch and root is/contains a world. The ancient Beast mages at one point go wandering through Yggdrasil ... and find themselves in Hell. Oops.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the Eldergleam, a tree considered sacred by many Nords, and from which the Gildergreen in Whiterun is descended from. It also seems to be at least semi-sapient.
  • Etrian Odyssey: The series' Japanese title translates to "Labyrinth of the World Tree", and the "Yggdrasil Labyrinth" is the main setting of each game, with the tree itself being a major part of the plot. The trees' exact nature depends on the game. The trees in the original game, Heroes of Lagaard, and Legends of the Titan are man-made organisms created to cleanse Earth of pollution (which spectacularly backfired as the absorbed so much pollution that they mutated into Eldritch Abominations which would eventually release the pollution into their surroundings), while the one in The Drowned City doesn't even originate from Earth at all, and came from space to hunt down yet another Eldritch Abomination, which is now sealed in between its roots. There's at least four more of these trees around and they're all bound to undergo the same mutation as the other ones created by the Yggdrasil project. In Beyond the Myth, the local Yggdrasil was planted to support the once-dying planet, and other than the dungeons and monsters on and inside the tree does not seem to be particularly hostile to humanity; the Benevolent Precursors who planted the tree also planted similar trees on other planets in order to repopulate them.
  • Faxanadu is set on the World Tree itself. The opening scene shows the main character walking towards his old home at its roots, and he spends the rest of the game scaling it, and venturing through entire towns and castles built into its branches.
  • The second expansion of Fate/Grand Order, Cosmos in the Lostbelt, introduces Cosmos Trees, gigantic alien trees which must be sustained until it can expand the Pocket Dimension Alternate Timeline it resides in to cover the entirety of Earth's surface and fully replace proper human history.
  • Fe has the Elder Tree situated in the Hub Level, which bestows Fe with new abilities as they collect pink crystals.
  • In Final Fantasy V, The World Tree contains the Crystals of the second world. The interior of the tree is protected by a seal that evil beings can't pass through, so naturally, the heroes only end up doing the Big Bad a favor when they retrieve the Crystals to protect them from him. (The aforementioned Big Bad, incidentally, is a tree himself, but that's another trope entirely.)
  • Final Fantasy IX had the Iifa Tree; grown by the Big Bad specifically to siphon souls away from the planet Gaia, it also pumps a noxious gas known as the Mist across the continents its roots have infested, gradually driving those who breathe it to violence and war. It also houses the gateway to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon on Disc 4.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening: The Mila Tree. It is a large, majestic tree that became a home for the older Tiki, who became a messenger of the gods. The tree was named after Mila and in Echoes, it was born from the graves of Divine Dragons, which serves as a burial ground for both Mila and Duma according to the Valentia Accordia.
  • Free Realms: The World Tree, which serves as the Pixies' Royal Palace and holds an important role in the in-game lore. A stylized version can be found all over the game, in-universe and out.
  • Grandia had an evil example: the final form of the Big Bad Gaia is a gigantic tree-like lifeform near the destroyed city of Zil Padon.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: In one episode of Heroes Chronicles (a spin-off campaign pack from Heroes of Might and Magic III), aptly titled "The World Tree", the hero Tarnum is tasked with saving the World Tree, which was the beginning point of life on the planet, but is now under attack by the undead. He spends most of the game in a series of tunnels searching for the Tree, only to find out near the end that the tunnels themselves are the roots of the Tree itself.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Nyarlim is a sentient tree that is one of the oldest living mortals in existence. In the "The Legend of Dead Kel" DLC the "god" worshipped by the islanders, Akara, is another tree. Akara also reveals that there were once twelve such trees in the world.
  • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: The sudden growth of such a tree in Dream Land is part of what kicks off the story.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: the god of creation made a giant tree which in turn produced fruit which became the various species of the world. It only laid 107 fruit; the other billions of species of tree are apparently subspecies derived from the first 107.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Spyro spends a good bit of the beginning of The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night searching for a large tree that both he and his mentor saw in a vision in an ancient (and deadly) grove.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Great Deku Tree from Ocarina of Time is the guardian of Kokiri Forest, the first dungeon, and Ganondorf's first on-screen victim. The great tree imagery also appears in the background of the Shadow Link battle in the Water Temple.
    • At the climax of Majora's Mask, the main character enters the moon only to find a giant tree on top of a hill, in the middle of a wind-swept field.
    • in Wind Waker, the Koroks are trying to spread the seeds of a new Deku Tree to create more Great Trees and make islands in the Great Sea for settlement.
    • Both of the Oracle games featured talking trees that played pivotal roles in the plot (they provided a seed to dispel illusions created by that game's Big Bad).
    • In Skyward Sword, Link grows a tree through the use of Time Travel that has a cure-all fruit, which he uses to cure the Thunder Dragon's ailment.
  • Mega Man Zero: The final stage of Mega Man Zero 2 depicts this series' Yggdrasill. Upon its roots, a sleeping Original X uses his own body to seal away the Dark Elf.
  • La-Mulana 2 seems set to at least have areas based on Norse Mythology, with the hub between them being called Yggdrasil. The initial demo level is set in its roots.
  • Myst: The D'ni utilized the image of the Great Tree of Possibilities to symbolize the potential Ages that could be reached through their books.
    • In the Age of Riven, a vast tree used to stand on one of the islands until Gehn cut it down and hollowed out the stump to build a prison the size of an apartment. Tay, an Age made as a refuge for the people of Riven under Gehn's rule, primarily features a similar tree in which the Moiety live.
    • In Myst III: Exile, the Age of Edanna is a giant tree on a forsaken island, within which an entire ecosystem thrives.
    • In Uru, the Watcher's Pub (AKA the "Great Tree Pub") is made from an enormous hollowed-out tree, which happens to be at least a few miles underground. It was practically a holy site in the D'ni civilization.
  • In NieR, the people in the Forest of Memories cherish a great Divine Tree that towers over the rest of the forest. Interacting with it turns the game into a text adventure for the duration of the encounter, but reveals that the tree serves as an organic repository for mankind's memories from before the cataclysm that took place centuries ago. Nier destroys it, just another of his contributions to humanity's extinction over the course of the game.
  • In Odin Sphere, a prophecy states that the armies of the Fire Kingdom will invade The Lost Woods of the elves, and be destroyed once they reach the World Tree... Except that there is not and has never been a world tree in the world of Odin Sphere, something which King Onyx angrily notes when Armageddon begins and their land begins to sink underwater, using it as justification for why they cannot be stopped. When the prophecies begin to come true, we learn that the elf queen Mercedes's true name is Yggdrasil, and that she is the World Tree that would stop them. She dies defeating King Onyx, who expresses disbelief upon hearing her true name and ruefully congratulates her as he dies, and on that spot, an actual world tree grows.
  • Ōkami has the Sacred Tree of Konohana, which generally gets refered to as 'Sakuya's Tree'. It also has seedlings (known as 'Guardian Saplings') all over the land, which protect the land. Every time Amaterasu revives one, a fruit grows on Sakuya's tree, which can be cut down for a treasure of some sort.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest: The Spirit Tree oversees the forest of Nibel. When the vengeful shadow bird Kuro steals Sein, the source of its magic, the forest withers and decays.
  • Persona 4: At the end of the best ending, the heroes witness the purified Heart of Mankind, an Eden with... yes, the Tree in the center.
  • Phantom Brave has Marona living on an island with the spirit of a very old tree allowing for the existence of Phantoms on the island itself without Marona's presence.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: The Tree of Life. It keeps the world spinning and orbiting around the sun, meaning everything will be eventually be incinerated should something happen to it. It is also the home — and perhaps the resting form — of Xerneas.
  • Quest for Glory III features the Tree at the Heart of the World, complete with appropriate mystic connections and rejuvenation powers. It's big enough to have its own waterfalls.
  • Ryzom: The planet on which the story takes place is literally a World Tree, one large enough for an entire planet to have accreted on its canopy.
  • In The Secret World there is Agartha, the hollow earth. An interdimensional location with countless infinitely tall trees, the branches of which connect to various places. One can cross the world in a brisk walk by taking a shortcut through Agartha and it is also the wellspring of Anima, The Lifestream that powers magic. It is referred to as Yggdrasil at least once, implying that it is the World Tree referenced in Norse mythology.
  • World of Mana: One would be remiss not to mention the Mana Tree, which the plots of the various games at least partially revolve around. The tree is able to be cut down and otherwise destroyed, which will result in Mana seeping out of the world, but there is a way to create a new one. This requires someone to sacrifice their body so that their spirit can inhabit the new tree/become the new Goddess. This happens in Final Fantasy Adventure/Sword of Mana, Trials of Mana, and the backstory of Secret of Mana.
  • Strider: There's a Yggdrasil (or Yugdesiral, as its mangled in English). This one, however, is a twisted, man-made mechanical Mind-Control Device created by the Mega-Corp and its president, Faceas Clay, as part of his plan to mind control humanity. In Clay's view, the machine will lead to mankind's rebirth, a "Golden Millenium" where wars and poverty will be erradicated under his total control.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2: Tall Trunk Galaxy. Also, the planets on which you fight Bugaboom and Major Burrows on in the first Super Mario Galaxy, which both reappear in this game.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Symphonia, the overarching goal of the characters is to re-create The World Tree, but the Big Bad is named Yggdrasil.
    • And in Tales of Phantasia, the protagonists have to revive a dying world tree called Yggdrasil. It's the same tree, by the way.
    • There's also Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, where the plot revolves heavily around the Summon Spirit of the Giant Kharlan Tree, the previous World Tree, who awakens immediately after Symphonia. It's interesting that he's named Ratatosk, which connects to Norse mythology, which the game takes many ideas from.
    • Tales of the Abyss had the Sephiroth Trees, which support the Floating Continent.
    • Tales of the World Radiant Mythology, where the player's goal is to revive the World Tree (again).
    • The Tales Series really likes trees - there's also the treetop village of Morle in Eternia, the big tree in Halure in Vesperia and the tree that's grown over the Giant Psistone that holds Iola's soul in Hearts. None of them are exactly World Trees, but they all mark major plot points in their own way.
  • Tokimeki Memorial: In the original game, the ultimate goal for the protagonist is to get the confession of love from his chosen young lady (and accept it) under the Legendary Tree on the school grounds on Graduation Day. This would, according to school legend, ensure them "eternal happiness" together, and is the origin of numerous similar scenes in anime and games. This final scene is parodied in La-Mulana. YOU LOOKED, JUNKER!
  • Treasure of the Rudra features a Tree of Life whose roots extend all the way into the Netherworld.
  • Since it's based loosely on Norse Mythology, Yggdrasil shows up as a stage in Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria. In the first Valkyrie Profile, one recruitable character expresses an interest in Bifrost and Yggdrasil.
  • Warcraft has several in its setting, often serving as gateways to the Emerald Dream.
    • G'Hanir, the Mother Tree, appears only in the setting's backstory. It existed not in the mortal realm, but as the demense of the demigoddess Aviana, and served as the afterlife for all winged creatures, including dragons. Then Avianna was killed by demons in the War of the Ancients and G'Hanir died, but a single acorn was saved by the dragons.
    • That acorn was used to grow Nordrassil after the War of the Ancients, to both contain and distribute the power of the Well of Eternity. For millennia the great tree served as the source of the Night Elves' immortality, but in Warcraft III the Burning Legion returned and attacked Nordrassil to get at the Well of Eternity beneath it. In the Battle of Mount Hyjal, the archdruid Malfurion Stormrage unleashed Nordrassil's power to defeat the demon Archimonde, at the cost of nearly killing the great tree, which also rendered the Night Elves mortal. By World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Nordrassil has recovered enough that a questline involves defending it against the fiery elemental lord Ragnaros and his armies.
    • Between Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, the Night Elves grew another great tree, Teldrassil, in an unsuccessful attempt to regain their lost immortality - unlike Nordrassil, it was planted without nature's blessing, and was sabotaged by the corrupted druid Fandrel Staghelm, so early Night Elf quests involve combating the dark forces creeping into it. Teldrassil is also several magnitudes larger than Nordrassil and a zone unto itself, containing the Night Elves' starting area, several small towns, wilderness to quest in, and the Night Elven capital city Darnassus. And then in Battle for Azeroth, the newly-promoted Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner led the Horde to attack Teldrassil and ordered the whole tree burned.
      • In an ironic subversion to the World Tree's traditional message of oneness and interconnection, Teldrassil is situated on an island miles off the coast of Kalimdor, making Darnassus, the Night Elf city built amongst its roots, the most remote racial capital. Furthermore, it's so isolated and irritating to travel to or from that one of the surest things a Mage can do to piss off other players is to "accidentally" open a portal to Darnassus when someone asks for a shortcut to Ironforge or Stormwind.
    • The Wrath of the Lich King expansion introduced Vordrassil, a failed World Tree in Grizzly Hills. It was toppled by the ancient peoples who lived in the area, because it was corrupted by the Old God Yog-Saron when its roots broke through the roof of its prison. The current resident tribe of Furbolgs are trying to re-grow the tree. For various reasons, this is a bad idea.
    • Legion added Shaldrassil, the world tree in Val'sharah. As Val'sharah is the birthplace of druidism and was modeled after the Emerald Dream, it's likely the oldest world tree except for G'Hanir.
  • In Wild ARMs 3, one of the locations is a large technology-heavy tower called Yggdrasill, which was designed to rejuvenate the dying planet on which the game takes place.
  • Wizard 101 has Bartleby, referred to as the grandfather tree. He's the oldest living being in existence (he claims to be only a few seconds younger than the stars) and is the source of all magic. He sang a great song that brought the titans into existence, and now uses his roots to hold together the Shattered World.
  • Xenogears: A variant of this trope appears in the form of the Yggdrasil; it's the place where all of the main characters meet, but is a sand-cruiser (and later, every other form of vehicle) rather than a giant tree. Xenogears also has Razael's Tree, which was metaphorical. Named after Cherubim Raziel (who are not as cute as Hallmark would like you to believe,) the "Tree" was a computer database located in the wreckage of the interstellar weapon that created mankind.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2 there is a World Tree in the middle of the Cloud Sea. It is said that, on top of the World Tree, a paradise called Elysium exists, where Pyra requests Rex to take her when they first meet. In reality, the World Tree, while it is actually covered with vegetation at its lower levels, is a cover for a Space Elevator connected to a space station where the Architect resides.

  • Americano Exodus features a world parallel to our own that is kept alive by maintaining the branches and roots of their World Tree. The young heiresses of noble households have to earn fertilizer that can keep the branches alive and their homelands habitable by stopping monsters from their world from running rampant on Earth.
  • Irregular Webcomic!: In this strip, Paris asks Quercus about his species' legend of the structure of the universe. Since Quercus is a sapient tree, Paris thinks it might involves the World Tree... turns out:
    Quercus: No. It involves quantum fluctuations and vacuum energy expansion in a general relativistic framework.
  • In xkcd's 2008 Christmas special, Yggdrasil is cut down by one of the characters... and then made into a Christmas tree.
  • In Winters In Lavelle Kari and Aiden receive their Magic Amber from a massive Oak tree. It is later referred to as the "A Pillar of the Woods" by Rio, and hinted to be vital to the forest's survival.

     Web Original 
  • In the Global Guardians PBEMU Niverse, All Myths Are True. Which naturally means that the World Tree from Norse mythology actually exists.
    Achilles: "That's ridiculous. We've sent up satellites. We've seen earth from space. Its not nestled in the branches of some giant tree.
    Odin: "Yes, this is true. You did all that, and showed that the earth is floating free in space, driven only by the gravity of the Sun. But this... (gestures to a view of the world tree that clearly reveals Midgard... the "real world"... nestled in its branches) ... is also true."
  • Whateley Universe: As of "Ayla and the Mad Scientist", it looks like Team Kimba is going to have to seek out and grow new World Trees from scratch or else Fey isn't going to be able to cast her high-level spells anymore. Later, Pejuta identifies a Lakota heirloom as a surviving World Tree seed, and together she and Fey plant it in The Grove. However, these World Trees aren't quite the classic form of this trope, as they exist within the world (rather than the other way around) and there can be multiple World Trees.
  • SCP Foundation provides an example of the corrupted world tree archetype in Yaldabaoth, the principal deity of the Sarkic cults (in this case meaning the cosmic power they exploit in a slightly more respectful manner). One part Almighty Idiot, one part Mother of a Thousand Young, and one part inverted Planetary Parasite, it does for Life Energy what Light Is Not Good did for The Power of the Sun.
  • Dreamscape: The World Tower, actually. It keeps reality together, and if its destroyed, it will be The End of the World as We Know It. The Overlord of Evil intended to do this so he could seize control of reality by going through the space-time vortex that destroying the World Tower would create.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Employed in "The Swamp". The protagonists come across a vast, mysterious wetland known as "The Foggy Swamp", which is actually made of one ancient banyan-grove tree. The wetland is a unified, living organism. Its tribal inhabitants base their philosophies on this phenomenon, in believing that everything in the world, living or once living, is connected (And indeed, the Gaang does see visions of people they know and will meet: Sokka sees Yue, Katara sees Kya, and Aang sees Toph), and they "all have the same roots and are all branches of the same tree."
    • In The Legend of Korra Toph has moved into the area and reveals that the tree really is connected to the whole world, allowing her to keep tabs on everything despite her seclusion. She suspects it's also connected to the spirit world.
  • Danny Phantom: "Urban Jungle" features the plant ghost Undergrowth, who spreads vines and roots throughout Amity Park, overtaking the town and culminating in a giant tree in the center of town.
  • Justice League: In "Hearts and Minds", the true form of the Pitar is a colossal tree whose power transforms a barren world into a lush paradise.
  • The Secret Saturdays has a colossal underground tree that is the source of all water on Earth.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: Yggdrssil appears. It's also the source of Odin's power.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Season 4 introduces the Tree of Harmony which resides in the heart of the Everfree Forest and looks like it's made out of crystal. The Elements of Harmony were originally part of the Tree itself before Celestia and Luna took them so they could defeat Discord. The conflict in the season premiere is that the Tree is dying since the parasitic vines Discord planted a thousand years ago have finally managed to wear down the Tree's magical defenses and the Everfree Forest is growing out of control as a result. At the end of the two-parter premiere the Mane Six return the Elements to the Tree to save it. The Tree then produces a strange box with six keyholes. The chest grants Rainbow Power and a castle that generates a map artifact connected to the tree and every part of Equestria that detects friendship problems anywhere and directs appropriate protagonists to it, suggesting an abstract but omniscient intelligence.

  • Walt Disney World in Florida has the Tree of Life, which is a giant 145 foot tall artificial tree built on the frame of an oil platform. There are many animal shapes carved into the bark that are easy to overlook if you don't know about them. The tree itself has a backstory where a lonely ant planted a seed that grew into a tree that countless animals would congregate. The magic of the tree eventually formed the bark into the forms of the various animal visitors over the years.
  • Dyson trees (see also Tree Vessel) are plants genetic-engineered to live in space, that would grow on comet nuclei and would have sizes of up to kilometers supporting an ecosystem/human colony.

    Real Life 
  • The Arbol del Tule/Tule Tree in Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico is also called the Tree of Life because of the animal-shaped knots and such in its branches. It is also the largest tree in the world by trunk diameter (though not by height or weight).
  • To impress upon his readers the majesty and age of the giant Sequoias and Redwoods, John Muir is claimed to have said, "This tree was here when Jesus walked the earth." When you're talking about a plant as tall as a hill and dozens of human lifetimes old, it's not surprising that a mythology should grow up around it. Indeed a few giant sequoias are over 3,000 years old, and the oldest still-living tree is a 4,800 year old bristlecone pine.
  • Pando is a clonal tree colony in Utah with one root system, six thousand metric tons of mass, forty-seven thousand trunks and possibly one million years to its name. It's thought to be at least eighty thousand years old, making it older than every Older Than Dirt trope on this wiki.

Alternative Title(s): The World Tree, Tree Of Life, Yggdrasil


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