Q. Telperion pn. “?Silver Tree”

Q. Telperion, pn. “?Silver Tree”

The common name of the White Tree of Valinor, the one of the Two Trees which shone with silver light (S/38). The exact meaning of this name is unclear, but its initial element is the word telpë “silver” (SA/celeb, UT/266). The original Quenya name of this tree was †Tyelperion, but it became Telperion when Quenya speakers adapted older †tyelpë into telpë under the influence of Telerin telpe (UT/266, Let/426).

Conceptual Development: In the earliest Lost Tales, this tree was usually called ᴱQ. Silpion (LT1/73). The name ᴹQ. Telperion first appeared in Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s as an alternate name of Silpion (LR/209, 211). In Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s, Telperion became its primary name and while Silpion became a secondary name (MR/59, note §5).

Possible Translations: This name is glossed “Silver Tree” in the index of the 50th anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings (LotRI/Silver Tree), but I cannot find this translation anywhere else. In their Reader’s Companion, Hammond and Scull tentatively translate Telperion as “?silver-white” (RC/637). In English the tree is usually referred to as the “White Tree”, but this was also applied to the earlier name Silpion and is perhaps a better translation of that name (given its incorporation of the root √SIL “shine white or silver”). Absent any other information, “Silver Tree” is the best available translation.

References ✧ LotRI/Silver Tree, Telperion, Trees, Two; LT1I; MRI; NM/349; PMI; S/38; SA/celeb; SI; SMI; UT/266; UTI; WJI




telpë “silver” ✧ NM/349; SA/celeb; UT/266



Phonetic Developments

Q. †Tyelperion > Telperion [tjelperion] ? [telperion] ✧ UT/266

ᴹQ. Telperion pn.

See Q. Telperion for discussion.

References ✧ LR/209; LRI; SDI1/Telperion