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Known in the Shire, and also associated with Ithilien, and especially the region known as Cormallen
Several species of the genus Laburnum
From a Latin name of unknown origin1
Other names
The Elvish name culumalda referred to the laburnum, or a similar golden-flowered tree


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 June 2024
  • This entry is complete


Trees with cascading yellow flowers

"Flowers swung upon her branches in clusters of yellow flame, formed each to a glowing horn that spilled a golden rain upon the ground..."
From a description of the Tree Laurelin
Quenta Silmarillion 1
Of the Beginning of Days

Laburnums are small deciduous trees most notable for their golden flowers, which form long trailing chains hanging from the tree's branches. Gandalf's fireworks in the Shire included memorable laburnums of fire, showing that the tree was certainly known to the Shire-hobbits. Laburnums, or trees closely related to them, also grew in Ithilien. There they were known by the Elvish name culumalda, 'golden tree', and they gave their name to the region known as Cormallen (where the trees grew in a 'golden circle' or 'golden ring').

Perhaps more profoundly, the laburnum lay behind Tolkien's inspiration for one the ancient Two Trees of Valinor. Laurelin, the Golden Tree, is described as having shining golden flowers hanging from its branches like those of a laburnum, and dropping a rain of golden light onto the ground beneath.



The word laburnum originates in Latin, but its intended meaning is unknown. The structure of the word leads some sources to suggest that it was an older name borrowed from the Etruscans. Other sources hypothesise that it instead incorporated Latin lābor 'fall down', in reference to its cascading flowers, or possibly lapis 'rock' for the trees' preferred habitat.

See also...

Cormallen, Culumalda


About this entry:

  • Updated 6 June 2024
  • This entry is complete

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