Artwork of two Deku Scrubs from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
|First appearance||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)|
|Latest appearance||Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda (2019)|
Deku Scrubs, sometimes just shortened to Deku or Scrubs, are a forest-dwelling species resembling giant sapient walnuts. They are able to spit nuts from their nozzle-like mouths, similar to Octoroks, and can also burrow into the ground using Deku Flowers. They have woodlike skin, glowing yellow eyes, and leaves and petals for "hair." Many Deku Scrubs lack arms, but some others have lengthy ones. In different contexts, they vary from being hostile enemies to passive characters.
The Legend of Zelda series
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Deku Scrubs appear as enemies inside the Deku Tree. They spit nuts at Link on sight, ducking into their flowers when approached. To defeat them, Link can deflect the nuts back at them with his Deku Shield; attempting to hit them with anything else Link has at that point will simply cause them to duck into their flower. Once damaged, a Deku Scrub will be uprooted from its flower and begin running around in panic, eventually burrowing back in if left alone. When Link reaches it, it will plead for mercy and offer some advice. Deep in the dungeon, a trio of Deku Scrub brothers guard the door to Gohma. To get past them, Link needs to damage the second one first (paralyzing it), then the third one (paralyzing it as well), then the first one (causing it to run around), with a previous Deku Scrub telling him this and using the mnemonic "twenty-three is number one" to help him remember. In Master Quest, all Deku Scrubs in the dungeon other than the trio are replaced, and the order they must be defeated in is changed.
Some friendly Deku Scrubs inhabit the Lost Woods. One can be found near a target, and awards Link an upgrade to his Deku Seed Bullet Bag if he scores three bullseyes. At the Forest Stage, several small Deku Scrubs with a less angry appearance and most of their foliage around their bodies can be found alongside a larger one with a mustache, together making up the Deku Scrub brothers. These provide different reactions and potentially rewards to seeing Link wearing masks.
Aside from the normal Deku Scrubs, there are also Business Scrubs found across Hyrule, which try to sell items to Link upon being damaged, and the aggressive Mad Scrubs, which due to not speaking are the only Deku Scrubs that can truly be "defeated." Both of these types can be attacked with items other than reflected nuts, unlike normal Deku Scrubs.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Link gets turned into a Deku Scrub called Deku Link by Skull Kid. In Termina, Deku Scrubs make up the Deku tribe, which alongside monkeys are the primary inhabitants of Southern Swamp. They operate a highly closed-off society led by the Deku King. Other notable members of the kingdom are the Deku Princess, whose sudden disappearance caused the king to fly into a vengeful rage, and the Deku Butler, whose son had himself recently gone missing and died, with his tree-like husk seemingly being used to create Deku Link. When Link first encounters the Deku tribe, the king is preparing to torture a monkey he believes to have killed the princess; in reality, the princess and the monkey were working together to find the source of the poison from Woodfall Temple. Once the princess is rescued and scolds her father for his rash actions, all is forgiven and the Deku tribe opens their borders to outsiders.
Deku Scrubs resembling the Deku Scrub brothers appear as the guards of the Deku Palace, with the younger design being used for the ones in the gate and castle gardens and the older design being used in the throne room. If one catches Link in the garden, he is thrown out of the palace, but is let back in with just a warning. A single Deku Scrub resembling the typical enemy design from the previous game appears, napping in a Deku Flower in the Swamp Spider House. If Link plays the Sonata of Awakening, it wakes up, runs around as if fleeing, and burrows into the ground. Business Scrubs also reappear, now wholly passive and with a large redesign, and Mad Scrubs appear as both enemies and passive-but-silent characters.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, two Deku Scrub brothers appear on Mt. Cucco, sharing sprites with the passive Business Scrubs found elsewhere in the game with a few additions. They can spit successive pairs of nuts downward, to the sides, and at 45-degree downward diagonals. When a nut is deflected, the Deku Scrub becomes dazed and gives a hint on reaching the Dancing Dragon Dungeon, with one telling where the key is and the other where the keyhole is.
A friendly Deku Scrub appears in a cave in the Natzu region, singing a song about how he loves seeds. If Link agrees it is a good song, he will refill Link's Seed Satchel. At Tarm Ruins, two Deku Scrubs can be found in different locations underground. The first, which is hostile, tells Link how to reach the Ancient Ruins through the Lost Woods when it is defeated. The second, which is passive, tells Link how to reach the Noble Sword (or Master Sword in a linked game) if he plays the Phonograph for it.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
In a linked The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages game after beating Oracle of Seasons, a friendly singing Deku Scrub appears in the Deku Forest and tells Link the Deku Secret to give to the Natzu Deku Scrub in the other game, letting him carry more seeds.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Deku Scrubs appear in the Lost Woods, Temple of Darkness, and Frozen Hyrule. They are followers of Ganon, but are very incompetent at it and do not put forth any effort into halting the Links' progress beyond hiding items occasionally. Additionally, one of them states that people who get lost in the forest become Deku Scrubs.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes
- Main article: Totem Deku
In The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, a type of Deku Scrub enemy called the Totem Deku appears, each having a segmented body of varying length to affect how tall they are. Some of them lack any segments but the head, thereby being functionally normal Deku Scrubs.
Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda
In Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, Deku Scrubs hide in the ground and spit a nut that travels one space per beat in any cardinal direction, an attack pattern shared with Octoroks. Unlike Octoroks, Deku Scrubs drop Deku Seeds upon defeat, which can be given to Tingle for bonuses. Once a Deku Seed is collected, the corresponding Deku Scrub never respawns, and as such there are a limited number. Once twenty Deku Seeds have been given to Tingle, he lets his Deku Scrub friend Yves join the adventure.
In the future version of Hyrule found in DLC of the digital version and the base game in the physical version, a small group of Deku Scrubs live alongside Skull Kid in Deku Village, roughly corresponding to the Lost Woods' location in the present. They are ruled over by the Deku King, though he begrudgingly admits the Great Deku Tree holds more authority. The "enemy" design of Deku Scrub also appears in the Deku Village Shooting Gallery, where their nuts must be dodged and deflected to hit targets.
Names in other languages