Dryads were the nymphs of the trees, groves, woodlands and forests. They were the spirits of the oaks and pines, poplar and ash, apple and laurel.
They were the nymphs of the ash tree and were born from the drops of blood that fell on Gaia when Cronus castrated Uranus. The Meliae were nurses of the infant Zeus in the Cretan mountains, where they fed him on the milk of the goat Amalthea and honey.
A tree was born with her birth to which her life was tied. While the tree flourished, so did its resident nymph, but when it died she passed away.
The Maliads, Meliads or Epimelids were nymphs of apple and other fruit trees and the protectors of sheep. The Greek word melas, from which their name derives, means both apple and sheep.
They are the nymphs of the laurel trees. They are named after Daphne (‘Laurel’), one of the Naiads who was plagued with unwanted advances from Apollo until she cried to Gaia for help. She took pity on her and turned Daphne into a laurel tree.