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Frodo Baggins 08-23-2002 11:47 AM

I think I know why Lobelia S.B. is called Lobelia
JRRT had a habit (hobbit?) of playing on words for his characters. Baggins has something to do with moneybags for instance.
Anyway, while the Lobelia flower is pretty (Mrs. S.B. is not!) it is poisonus. If you hold it in your mouth (I read this, I did not try it) it is verry bitter and causes headaches and perspiration, longer causes dizziness and disorientation, finally if you haven't spit it out by this time it causes severe nausea and extreme vomiting. Funny, if I am around Lobelia S.B. for a long enough time the same thing happened. Remember after Bilbo left and Merry said I was indisposed? Three guesses why and the first two don't count!

Lothiriel Silmarien 08-23-2002 11:57 AM

That's very interesting!

Lady_Elf 08-23-2002 12:02 PM

Tolkien got The "Hobbit" from where he lived. He lived in Hobb Lane in England.
Just thought i'd tell you.

[ August 23, 2002: Message edited by: Lady_Elf ]

Starbreeze 08-23-2002 02:56 PM

That really is interesting. I thought it was just that she was named after a flower (which to my mind flowers in general are nothing special). Thatnks for enlightening me!

Morquesse 08-23-2002 04:18 PM

That is very interesting and Frodo Baggins! You are back! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] *picks up the hobbit and dances around* I'm so glad you're back!
Well, I am very glad I never decided to try lobelia to see what it tasted like. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Elsaur 08-24-2002 03:31 PM

i always thought that and i'm glad that other people have figured that's very interesting the way tolkien made things up from real things. the hobb lane thing's pretty cool too. you're all very observative.

Eruwen 08-25-2002 02:51 PM

That is very interresting, Frodo. I was wondering how he came up with all of the names in his books. Hmmm...

Oh, and by the way, welcome back!! Where did you go for so long? I havn't seen you on much lately. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Merry Brandybuck 09-01-2002 08:59 AM

Indeed, you were very indisposed, my dear Frodo. And who can blame you? Interesting, that our dear Miss Lobelia should have been named after a noxious flower. Good judgement, on her parents part, I'd say.

[ September 01, 2002: Message edited by: Merry Brandybuck ]

Rose Cotton 09-01-2002 10:15 AM

Funny, I didn't know there was an art to picking hobbit names. Since most of them seem to be made up. Though I do know somthing about how one of our good friends got his name. This is from one of Tolkien's biogrophys:


Cotton balls, for example, were known as gamgee, which itself was short for gamgee-tissue. Why gamgee? A local man named Samson Gamgee had invented them.
Now there may be no conection at all but I do find that very suspitous. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

Frodo Baggins 09-01-2002 06:14 PM

Good one Merry, yes indisposed. You always were one to get to the point. Her parents evident;y had more insight than we thought. I pity Otho for marrying her.

Evisse the Blue 09-02-2002 02:27 AM

Merry, I love your signature! It's hilarious! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
Lady Elf, I heard Tolkien's idea for "Hobbit" came from a book (forgot the author) about a certain English family "Babbit" who resemble hobbits in that they are 'respectable', and easy going.
As for Lobelia, well, that does explain it all! And so what if the flowers are pretty, maybe Lobelia was too, before she turned into a mean old hag [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Lotrelf 03-27-2014 06:37 AM

Exactly! Once, in the Dictionary, I saw the word Lobelia and knew already it was flower's name. But from there, I found it was poisonous(in the ways you explained, obviously) too. I realized this is why Professor named her Lobelia. ;)

Mithalwen 03-27-2014 10:22 AM

I very much doubt this. Lobelia is a very popular garden plant in England. If Tolkien had been worried about the toxicity of plants as an indicator of character he wouldn't have called his hero's remarkable mothet after the truly lethal Belladonna aka deadly nightshade. A more likely link would be to the Victorian language of flowers in which Lobelia represents malevolence.

Inziladun 03-29-2014 05:04 PM

It's funny that the Bree Hobbits and Men are noted as having "odd" botanical names. Yet, in addition to Lobelia, a glimpse of the Baggins family tree shows Pansy, Lily, Rosa, Poppy, and Peony among the various female names there. Lobelia apparently just had traditionally-minded parents, if that carried through to Shire-families in general.

Mithalwen 03-29-2014 06:50 PM

I think the botanical Breenames were surnames like Butterbur and Goatleaf. Frodo remarked on how common flower names are for Shire women.

Inziladun 03-29-2014 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by Mithalwen (Post 690380)
I think the botanical Breenames were surnames like Butterbur and Goatleaf. Frodo remarked on how common flower names are for Shire women.

Pffft. You're right, naturally. Next I'll be advancing the theory that Sam is rustic and simple. :rolleyes:

shadowfax 09-02-2014 07:35 AM

I think Tom Shippey convincingly formulates the theory that Sackville Baggins is a wordplay on cul-de-sac and his general disapproval of using French words to describe things for which there are decent Engish words. Of course cul-de-sac is not even proper French but an anglicised usage of French to appear eduacted or intellectual.

Bag End is thus a literal English translation of cul de sac (bottom of a bag). Ville (before it came to mean town) came from possibly celtic origins denoting a settlement and thus could also loosely mean the same as end does in English place names. Thus sackville is bag end and the name Sackville Baggins is thus a meaningless repetition of the same thing.

Baggins is of course also another wordplay, as Bilbo (or so Gandalf claims) is a burglar (actually a misinterpretation of the term burgher, for a bourgeouis citizen) and a burglar is obviously somebody who steals, or "bags" things. Of couzrse he did end up bagging both the Ring and the arkenstone, and as such proved a good "bagger".

Colloquially, at least to an Oxford don in Tolkien's day, a baggins was also a light meal. And Bilbo was certainly one who liked to tuck into his meals.

Of course Hobb Lane also comes into it. Tolkien obviosuly didn't mind combining several jokes and references into one.

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