Dryads are a type of tree spirit, or nymph, in Greek mythology. In Greek, drys signifies "oak". Dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees.They were normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess Artemis, who was known to be friends to most nymphs. Dryads are figures in Greek mythology often described as "tied to their homes (trees)," although some dryads are able to leave their post. Many say they are bound to their trees. If the tree dies, they die, but some are said to haunt those who cause their demise. In many representations, dryads cannot move far from their trees.
Types of dryad
- Meliai - Dryads which are tied to ash trees.The ash-tree sisters tended the infant Zeus in Rhea's Cretan cave. Gaea gave birth to the Meliai after being made fertile by the blood of castrated Uranus.
- Oreiades - Nymphs that lived in mountains, valleys, and ravines.
- Hamadryads - Dryads who are supernaturally long-lived and tied to their homes.They were an integral part of their trees: when a tree died, the hamadryad would die with it. Mortals who brought harm to the trees without paying respects to the hamadryads would be punished by the Gods.
- Epimeliad - Dryads who were bound to apple trees and protected sheep and goats.Their hair was white, like apple blossoms or undying wool.They are also known to be guards of the tree that the golden fleece was kept on.
- Shapeshifting - Dryads could shift between the form of a human or tree at will.
- Longevity - Dryads live exceptionally long lives.
- Divine Protection - Dryads are protected by the gods who will punish any mortals who bring harm to their trees without paying respects to the dryad first.