THE HAMADRYADES were eight Dryad nymph daughters of the forest spirit Oxylos (“Of the Forest”) and Hamadryas (“With the Tree”), who inhabited Mount Oita in Phthiotis. The parents, Oxylos and Hamadryas, may also have presided over specific trees, for oxua in Greek sometimes refers to the beech tree (Fagus silvatica), and drus the holm oak (Quercus ilex).
Each of the eight nymphs presided over a particularly type of tree:- Aigeiros was the nymph of the black poplar (Populus nigra); Ampelos the nymph of the vine, including the wild grape (Vitis silvestris), bryony (Bryonia creticus), black bryony (Tamus communis) and the wrack (Fucus volubilis). Balanis the nymph of acorn-bearing trees such as the holm (Quercus ilex) and prickly-cupped (Quercus aegilops) oaks; Karya the nymph of the nut tree, both the hazel (Corylus avellana) and walnut (Juglans regia), and possibly also the sweet chestnut (Castanea vesca); Kraneia the nymph of the cornelian cherry tree (Cornus mas); Morea the nymph of the mulberry tree (Morus nigra) or else the wild olive; Ptelea the nymph of the European elm (Ulmus glabra); Syke the nymph of the fig tree (Ficus carica) Hamadryads are born bonded to a particular tree. Some believe that hamadryads are the actual tree, while normal dryads are simply the entities, or spirits, of the trees. If the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. For that reason, dryads and the gods punished any mortals who harmed trees.