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  • Updated 23 March 2020
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Fragrant Trees

The Númenórean region of Nísimaldar

On the western coasts of Númenor was a wide bay, the Bay of Eldanna, fed from the central regions of the island by the river Nunduinë. At the mouth of that river stood a haven, Eldalondë, and it was to that western haven that the Eldar of Eressëa most often sailed in the early days of Númenor.

Those Eldar brought many gifts with them out of the West, and among those gifts were many rare and extraordinary trees. Those trees grew up the slopes that surrounded Eldalondë, and among their many kinds were the golden malinorni, from whom the mallorn trees of Lórien would descend. The entire region was filled with the sweet scents of the trees of Aman, and was therefore known as Nísimaldar, a name that translates as 'the Fragrant Trees'.

The Fragrant Trees of Nísimaldar

Lairelossë The name lairelossë seems to mean 'summer-snow', which suggests that white blossoms appeared on this tree during the summer, and the allusion to snow perhaps refers to the falling of these blossoms.
Malinornë A large tree with silver bark that grew golden leaves, from which it took its name (malinornë means 'golden tree'). A nut from one of these trees was given as a gift to Gil-galad of Lindon, and from that seed descended the golden mallorn trees of Lórien.
Nessamelda The nessamelda tree is not described in any detail. Its name suggests a possible connection with the Vala Nessa (it can be interpreted as 'beloved of Nessa', or on a more literal level as 'beloved of the young').
Oiolairë An evergreen tree with fragrant leaves, whose name meant 'ever-summer'. Oiolairë grew well in sea-air, and from it were taken the Green Boughs of Return. These were used as part of a tradition that grew up among the sailors of Númenor: before a vessel set sail a woman, ideally a relative of the captain, would place a bough of oiolairë on the ship as a blessing to ensure its safe return to harbour.
Taniquelassë The name of this tree means 'high white leaf'. The similarity of its name to Taniquetil ('high white peak', the mountain home of Manwë) is clear, and this evidently tall, white-leafed tree may have been intentionally named in reverence of the White Mountain of the Elder King.
Vardarianna The name of this tree clearly connects it with Varda, the Queen of the Stars. The element rianna literally means 'crown-gift', but ri, 'crown' can also be taken as 'wreath' or 'garland', though it's unclear whether this relates to the form of the tree, or to the use to which its leaves were put.
Yavannaírë This tree had a named that translates as 'jewel of Yavanna', a reference to its fruit, which grew as globes of a brilliant scarlet hue. These were seen as bright jewels of Yavanna, the Vala whose province included the trees and other living things of the World.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 23 March 2020
  • Updates planned: 2

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