HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

White Tree of Gondor, The

Type: Plants

Other Names:
The Silver Tree
The White Tree of Minas Ithil
The White Tree of Minas Anor
The White Tree of Minas Tirith

Description:

The White Tree as a Symbol of Gondor

[Said Elrond,] 'In the South the realm of Gondor long endured; and for a while its splendour grew, recalling somewhat of the might of Númenor, ere it fell. ... the winged crown of the Kings of Men was held in awe by folk of many tongues. Their chief city was Osgiliath ... through the midst of which the River flowed. And Minas Ithil they built ... eastward upon a shoulder of the Mountains of Shadow; and westward at the feet of the White Mountains Minas Anor they made.... There in the courts of the King grew a white tree, from the seed of that tree which Isildur brought over the deep waters, and the seed of that tree before came from Eressëa, and before that out of the Uttermost West in the Day before days when the world was young.'

'But in the wearing of the swift years of Middle-earth the line of Meneldil son of Anárion failed, and the Tree withered, and the blood of the Númenoreans became mingled with that of lesser men.' ...

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

The Guards of the gate were robed in black.... Upon the black surcoats were embroidered in white a tree blossoming like snow beneath a silver crown and many-pointed stars. This was the livery of the heirs of Elendil, and none wore it now in all Gondor, save the Guards of the Citadel before the Court of the Fountain where the White Tree once had grown.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

Quickly Gandalf strode across the white-paved court. A sweet fountain played there in the morning sun, and a sward of bright green lay about it; but in the midst, drooping over the pool, stood a dead tree, and the falling drops dripped sadly from its barren and broken branches back into the clear water.

Pippin glanced at it as he hurried after Gandalf. It looked mournful, he thought, and he wondered why the dead tree was left in this place where everything else was well tended.

Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree.
The words that Gandalf had murmured came back into his mind.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 1, Minas Tirith

'For myself,' said Faramir, 'I would see the White Tree in flower again in the courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in peace: Minas Anor again as of old, full of light, high and fair, beautiful as a queen among other queens...

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

History

Many treasures and great heirlooms of virtue and wonder the Exiles had brought from Númenor; and of these the most renowned were the Seven Stones and the White Tree. The White Tree was grown from the fruit of Nimloth the Fair that stood in the courts of the King at Armenelos in Númenor, ere Sauron burned it; and Nimloth was in its turn descended from the Tree of Tirion, that was an image of the Eldest of Trees, White Telperion which Yavanna caused to grow in the land of the Valar. The Tree, memorial of the Eldar and of the light of Valinor, was planted in Minas Ithil before the house of Isildur, since he it was that had saved the fruit from destruction....

The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

3429 II
Sauron attacks Gondor, takes Minas Ithil and burns the White Tree. Isildur escapes down Anduin and goes to Elendil in the North. ...

3430
The Last Alliance of Elves and Men is formed.

3441
Sauron overthrown by Elendil and Gil-galad, who perish. Isildur takes the One Ring. Sauron passes away and the Ringwraiths go into the shadows. The Second Age ends.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Second Age

2 III
Isildur plants a seedling of the White Tree in Minas Anor. He delivers the South-kingdom to Meneldil. ...

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

Boromir [said,] 'All know in Gondor that he [Isildur] went first to Minas Anor and dwelt a while with his nephew Meneldil, instructing him, before he committed to him the rule of the South Kingdom. In that time he planted there the last sapling of the White Tree in memory of his brother.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

2 III
... Disaster of the Gladden Fields; Isildur and his three elder sons are slain.

1636
The Great Plague devastates Gondor. Death of King Telemnar and his children. The White Tree dies in Minas Anor. ...

1640
King Tarondor removes the King's House to Minas Anor, and plants a seedling of the White Tree. Osgiliath begins to fall into ruin. Mordor is left unguarded.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

When King Telemnar died the White Tree of Minas Anor also withered and died. But Tarondor, his nephew, who succeeded him, replanted a seedling in the citadel.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion

After the days of Eärnur the White Tree waned and seldom flowered. It slowly aged and withered and bore no fruit, so far as men knew.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor

2872
Belecthor II of Gondor dies. The White Tree dies, and no seedling can be found. The Dead Tree is left standing.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

When Belecthor II, the twenty-first Steward, died, the White Tree died also in Minas Tirith; but it was left standing 'until the King returns', for no seedling could be found.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion: The Stewards

25 [April 3019]
King Elessar finds the sapling of the White Tree.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

'The Tree in the Court of the Fountain is still withered and barren. When shall I see a sign that it will ever be otherwise?'

'Turn your face from the green world, and look where all seems barren and cold!' said Gandalf.

Then Aragorn turned, and there was a stony slope behind him running down from the skirts of the snow; and as he looked he was aware that alone there in the waste a growing thing stood. And he climbed to it, and saw that out of the very edge of the snow there sprang a sapling tree no more than three foot high. Already it had put forth young leaves long and shapely, dark above and silver beneath, and upon its slender crown it bore one small cluster of flowers whose white petals shone like the sunlit snow.

Then Aragorn cried: 'Yé! utúvienyes! I have found it! Lo! here is a scion of the Eldest of Trees! But how comes it here? For it is not itself yet seven years old.'

And Gandalf coming looked at it, and said: 'Verily this is a sapling of the line of Nimloth the fair; and that was a seedling of Galathilion, and that a fruit of Telperion of many names, Eldest of Trees. Who shall say how it comes here in the appointed hour? But this is an ancient hallow, and ere the kings failed or the Tree withered in the court, a fruit must have been set here. For it is said that, though the fruit of the Tree comes seldom to ripeness, yet the life within may then lie sleeping through many long years, and none can foretell the time in which it will awake. Remember this. For if ever a fruit ripens, it should be planted, lest the line die out of the world. Here it has lain, hidden on the mountain, even as the race of Elendil lay hidden in the wastes of the North. Yet the line of Nimloth is older far than your line, King Elessar.'

Then Aragorn laid his hand gently to the sapling, and lo! it seemed to hold only lightly to the earth, and it was removed without hurt; and Aragorn bore it back to the Citadel. Then the withered tree was uprooted, but with reverence; and they did not burn it, but laid it to rest in the silence of Rath Dínen. And Aragorn planted the new tree in the court by the fountain, and swiftly and gladly it began to grow; and when the month of June entered in it was laden with blossom.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, The Steward and the King

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 28Jul04, 28Dec04
corrected ToY date of Belecthor II's death: ET 25Apr05

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