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Dates
Probably planted in late III 3019 (1419 by the Shire-reckoning);1 first flowered 6 April III 3020 (S.R. 1420), and survived for many years afterwards
Location
The Party Field below Bag End in the Shire2
Origins
Grew from a silver seed, the gift of Galadriel to Samwise Gamgee
Species
Settlements
Meaning
Named for the golden colour of its leaves and flowers

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About this entry:

  • Updated 13 October 2016
  • This entry is complete

Golden Tree

The great mallorn of the Shire

Malinorni
of Númenor
Mellyrn
of Lórien
Golden Tree
of the Shire

During the Quest of Mount Doom, the gardener Samwise Gamgee received the gift of a silver nut from the Lady Galadriel of Lórien. This was the seed of a mallorn tree, an ancient lineage whose progenitors had grown in Númenor, and before that on the isle of Tol Eressëa. Seeds of these trees come to Middle-earth as gifts to Gil-galad during the Second Age, but only in Galadriel's land of Lórien had they successfully taken root and grown into full trees.3

This changed after the War of the Ring. During the brief rule of Sharkey over the Shire, the famous Party Tree beneath Bag End had been cut down, and Sam chose to plant his silver seed in its place. It quickly grew into the Golden Tree, one of the most magnificent mellyrn in Middle-earth, silver-barked and golden-leafed, and the only one of its kind to be found beyond the bounds of Lórien.


Notes

1

We don't have a specific date for Sam's planting of the Golden Tree. We know that it happened after the fall of Saruman on 3 November III 3019, and that Sam was busy after that date helping to reorder the Shire. It was only after a period described as 'weeks' (The Return of the King VI 9, The Grey Havens) that he thought of the seed that would grow into the Golden Tree. That probably places its planting at some point in early or mid-December III 3019, but the vagueness of the term 'weeks' means that it might conceivably have been planted during the following January or even later. Whatever the exact date, it was clearly well before Spring, because the remarkable tree had already grown to a sapling by then, and first flowered on 6 April III 3020.

2

Though we don't have a map showing the exact location of the Party Field and its Golden Tree, we do have a clear depiction in a series of sketches and watercolours by Tolkien reproduced in J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator. These predate The Lord of the Rings, and don't match exactly with later developments in the Shire's geography (for example, the road northward from Hobbiton loops twice, and ends at the front door of Bag End, rather than passing the Hill and going on to Overhill). These illustrations place the Field and the Tree almost immediately across the road from Bag End, but a little eastward down the slope of Hobbiton Hill within the northernmost loop of the road.

3

Gil-galad received the mallorn seeds from Tar-Aldarion of Númenor, who voyaged to Middle-earth during the early Ninth Century of the Second Age. This means that in no less than than fifty-six centuries, no mallorn had been known to grow except in Lórien. In light of this, Galadriel's gift to Samwise as he left that land seems rather a strange one, since in principle she was giving him a seed that would almost certainly never grow. It seems that she must have had some kind of foresight of the Golden Tree that would eventually spring from the silver nut.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 13 October 2016
  • This entry is complete

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