Sleeper Trees are small fruit-bearing trees found in End Wood of the Forests of Silence, that grow wherever there is a source of shallow, still water. They have slender trunks, and grow fruit, called Sleeper Fruit, shaped like fat pears with golden skin flushed with pink. When the Sleeper Fruit is eaten, its flesh causes the victim to fall into a deep sleep unless it is eaten with the bitter-tasting skin. If a person has been drugged into sleep by the fruit, the only way to wake them is to feed them the skin, which acts as an antidote. However, both Filli and Kree were able to eat the fruit without falling asleep.
Secrets of Deltora
Doran the Dragonlover wrote about Sleeper Trees and Orchard Keepers in his book Secrets of Deltora. In it he noted that he had seen at least two Sleeper Tree groves in End Wood and believed that there could easily be more.
Lief, Barda, and Jasmine found a grove of Sleeper Trees on their way through End Wood. They came to it after crawling through a strange, winding path that ran through a wall of giant ferns that lay on the other side of a stream they had previously crawled through the centre of. Jasmine thought it was a dried-out stream that had once flowed into the one they were in. The path was lined with what looked like large rounded stones, filled with moss and a little way along it great arching fronds met over their heads, blocking the sky and making it seem like they were crawling through a soft green tunnel.
Once at the grove, Jasmine said that the Sleeper Trees kept to themselves, and only talked amongst each other. Barda and Jasmine ate the fruit without their bitter skin, placing them in a deep sleep, however because Lief ate the fruit with the skin he only became very sleepy. The resident Orchard Keeper appeared and nearly killed the companions, but Lindal of Broome appeared just in time to drive it off.
During the struggle Lief had pulled from the water what he thought was a stone use it as a weapon against the bird, however when he saw that it was a human skull, he threw it away in shock, realising that the stones lining the pathway to the grove were actually skulls of past human victims of the Orchard Keeper, placed there along with other bones of the victims by the bird, to make it wider, and more inviting. Lindal quickly fed the skin of the fruit to Barda and Jasmine to wake them.
Sleeper Trees are cultivated and tended to by Orchard Keepers, who grow the trees in groves to entice travellers. Once they eat the tree's fruit, they fall into a deep sleep. This allows the Orchard Keeper to feast, and the trees to spread. As the corpses of the victims sink into the water, the bones are picked clean by the Orchard Keeper and used to make and widen the pathway to its Sleeper Tree grove.