Old English grāf; related to grǣfa thicket, greave , Norwegian greivla to intertwine
- Before 9th Century
- 1.a small wood or forested area, usually with no undergrowth: a grove of pines.
- 2.a small orchard or stand of fruit-bearing trees, esp. citrus trees: a grove of lemon trees.
A grove is a small group of trees with minimal or no undergrowth, such as a sequoia grove, or a small orchard planted for the cultivation of fruits or nuts. Other words for groups of trees include woodland, copse, woodlot, thicket or spinney.
Otherwise, a "sacred" grove is a grove of trees of great religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves were most prominent in the Ancient Near East and prehistoric Europe, but feature in various cultures throughout the world. They were important features of the mythological landscape and cult practice of Celtic, Germanic, ancient Greek, Near Eastern, Roman, and Slavic polytheism, and were also used in India, Japan, and West Africa. Examples of sacred groves include the Greco-Roman temenos, the Norse hörgr, and the Celtic nemeton, which was largely but not exclusively associated with Druidic practice. During the time of Christianisation of Estonia by German invaders starting in 12th century there was a common practice of building churches on the sites of sacred groves.