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The name White Tree refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see White Tree (disambiguation).
Tree/source of light
Ralph Damiani - Telperion.jpg
"Telperion" by Ralph Damiani
Other namesIbrīniðilpathānezel (V)
AppearanceLeaves of dark green, shining silver beneath; boughs decked with brilliant flowers that shed a rain of silver dew
V.Y. 3450–3500
DestroyerMelkor and Ungoliant
Y.T. 1495
GalleryImages of Telperion

Telperion (Q pron. [telˈperi.on]) was the elder of the Two Trees of Valinor, called the White Tree, which shed silver light on the domain of the Valar. His leaves were of dark green, shining silver beneath, and his boughs were decked with brilliant flowers that shed a rain of silver dew, which was collected as a source of water and of light.[1]


[edit] History

Telperion was the elder of the Two Trees, and bloomed during the first part of the Valian day, followed by Laurelin. It endured throughout the Years of the Trees, but came to an end in the dreadful Darkening of Valinor.

However one of Telperion's flowers survived the Darkening, and was set aloft by the Valar; this was the light of the Moon, carried by Tilion the Maia.[2]

[edit] Telperion's descendants

Even though the elder tree did not survive, he was not the last of the White Trees. Because the Elves that first came to Valinor especially loved Telperion, Yavanna made a second tree like it to stand in the city of Tirion where the Vanyar and Noldor dwelt together at first. This tree, named Galathilion, was identical to Telperion except that it gave no light of its own. It had many seedlings, one of which was Celeborn on the isle of Tol Eressëa.[3]

In the Second Age, a seedling of Celeborn was brought as a gift to the Númenoreans — that was Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor. It lasted through the vast majority of the realm's duration, but when Sauron took control of the island he had king Ar-Pharazôn chop it down.[4]

Fortunately Isildur managed to save a single fruit of that tree. Of this fruit later came the White Tree of Gondor.

[edit] Etymology

Telperion comes from telepi "silver". The exact etymology of the ending -rion is not entirely clear, but it can mean something like "great wreathed one" (Cf. ría, rielle).

The Quenya form was actually Tyelperion but Quenya adopted telpë from Telerin.[5]

[edit] Names

Another Quenya name for Telperion was Silpion[6]. The exact meaning of this name is unclear, but it is derived from the root SIL "shine (with white or silver light)"[7] or from the extended root SILIP[8]. It was sometimes glossed the "White Tree of Valinor"[8], so "White Tree" is the best available translation.

Ninquelótë was a Quenya title of Telperion.[1] Ninquelótë means "White Flower" or (perhaps more likely in this context) "White Blossom". The Sindarin equivalent of this Quenya name was Nimloth, and indeed that name was inherited by the White Tree that grew in the King's Court of Númenor.

Ibrīniðilpathānezel was the name in Valarin of Telperion.[9]

In early writings of Tolkien Telperion's names were Silpion, Bansil and Belthil.[10]

[edit] Genealogy

Destroyed Y.T. 1495
Made in the image of Telperion
Destroyed after S.A. 3262
First tree of Gondor
c. S.A. 3320 -S.A. 3429
Second tree of Gondor
T.A. 2 - T.A. 1636
Third tree of Gondor
T.A. 1640 - T.A. 2852
Fourth tree of Gondor
15 June T.A. 3019 - unknown

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Beginning of Days"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix E: The Names of Celeborn and Galadriel"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Two. The Annals of Aman: Commentary on the first section of the Annals of Aman", p. 59 (commentary to §5)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", sil-
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", SIL
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar: Appendix D. *Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language': Note on the 'Language of the Valar'", p. 401
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The History of Middle-earth, passim