The World Tree is a motif present in several religions and mythologies, particularly Indo-European religions. The world tree is represented as a colossal tree which supports the heavens, thereby connecting the heavens, the earth, and, through its roots, the underground. It may also be strongly connected to the motif of the tree of life.
In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is the world tree. Yggdrasil is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that is central and considered very holy. The Æsir go to Yggdrasil daily to hold their courts. The branches of Yggdrasil extend far into the heavens, and the tree is supported by three roots that extend far away into other locations; one to the well Urðarbrunnr in the heavens, one to the spring Hvergelmir, and another to the well Mímisbrunnr. Creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the harts Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór, an unnamed eagle, and the wyrm Níðhöggr. Scholarly theories have been proposed about the etymology of the name Yggdrasill, the potential relation to the trees Mímameiðr and Læraðr, and the sacred tree at Uppsala.
The World Tree is also represented in the mythologies and folklore of Northern Asia and Siberia. In the mythology of the Samoyeds, the "world tree" connects different realities (underworld, this world, upper world) together. In their mythology "world tree" is also the symbol of Mother Earth who is said to give the Samoyed shaman his drum and also help him travel from one world to another.
The World Tree is visible in the designs of the Crown of Silla, Silla being one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. This link is used to establish a connection between Siberian peoples and those of Korea.
See main article: Mesoamerican world tree.
Although the concept is absent from the Greek mythology, medieval Greek folk traditions and more recent ones claim that the Tree that holds the Earth is being sawed by Kallikantzaroi (commonly translated as goblins).
The "Cosmic tree" also was one of the most important beliefs in Latvian mythology.
The concept of the world tree also appears in the fictional Warcraft universe. There are three known World Trees, all connected to the night elves. Nordrassil, the original World Tree on the summit of Mount Hyjal, was planted after the War of the Ancients to bless the night elves with immortality and grant their druids the ability to walk the realm known as the Emerald Dream. Teldrassil, the night elf players' starting area, was intended as a replacement for Nordrassil after the events of in a failed, vain effort to restore their immortality. There was another tree known as Vordrassil, revealed in . Vordrassil, located in the Grizzly Hills of southern Northrend, was destroyed by the ancient druids for reasons unknown; its trunk is now the furbolg city of Grizzlemaw.
Based on their names, all three appear to be influenced by the Norse World Tree mythos.