LEUKE (or Leuce) was an Okeanid Nymph abducted by Haides to the Elysian Fields where she was transformed into a white poplar.
Her story was probably connected with the white poplars which grew on the banks of the river Akheron in Thesprotia, a region famed for its Oracle of Haides.
Leuke was probably the same as Leukippe, an Okeanis companions of the goddess Persephone.
|OKEANOS (Servius on Virgil's Eclogues 7.61)
LEUCE (Leukê), a nymph, a daughter of Oceanus, who was carried of by Pluto; and after her death, was changed into a white poplar in Elysium. (Serv. ad Virg. Eclog. vii. 61.)
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
R. E. Bell, Women of Classical Mythology (sourced from Servius on Virgil's Eclogues 4.250) :
"Leuke (Leuce) was a nymph, a daughter of Okeanos, who was carried off by Hades. After her death she was changed into a white poplar in Elysium. The white poplar was sacred to Hades. When Herakles returned form the underworld, he was crowned with poplar leaves."
Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 14. 2 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Herakles found the white poplar (leukê) growing on the banks of the Akheron (Acheron), the river in Thesprotia, and for this reason Homer calls it Akherois. So from the first down to the present all rivers have not been equally suited for the growth of plants and trees. Tamarisks grow best and in the greatest numbers by the Maiandros (River Meander) . . . So it is no wonder that the white poplar grew first by the Akheron."
- Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st BC - C1st AD
- Women of Classical Mythology - English Encyclopedia of Mythology C20th AD
Other references not currently quoted here: Servius on Virgil's Eclogues 7.61