§ Fuilas >> Marlas >> Romloth >> Galenas (WR:38)
These are earlier names of galenas, the name of pipeweed in Noldorin/Sindarin (see also LotRV, ch.8).
Fuilas clearly contains N. lhass, S. las(s) ’leaf’ (Let:211, LAS1-). The first element must be from PHUY- with N. fuin ’night’, Q. Fui, Hui ’Night’, fuine, huine ’deep shadow’. Indeed, tobacco belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family and this seems to be translated here by *’night-leaf’.
Marlas is more difficult – while suffixed -las ’leaf’ can be also observed in this word, the only suitable element mar- appears in a first translation of the name Hamfast (= ’home-fast, home abiding’) as Marthanc (SD:117) with mutated tanc ’firm’ (TAK-) and thus obviously mar- ’home’ < MBAR-, despite the usual change mb- > b- as in N. bár ’home’ (VT45:33). Perhaps mar- is from a parallel root *MAR- or underwent some kind of influence. However, it is difficult to see how Marlas *’home-leaf’ relates to pipeweed. Perhaps it is simply a misreading for *Morlas with mor-’night, dark’ from MOR-. This would be a variation of Fuilas.
Romloth contains N. lhoth ’flower’ (LOT(H)-) or S. loth ’flower’ (Silm.index), ’inflorescence, a head of small flowers’ (VT42:18) and as the initial element probably N. rhom ’horn, trumpet’ (ROM-) with voiced r- according to the later phonology of Sindarin. The shape of tobacco blossoms may indeed remind of trumpets.
There are two different explanations of galenas from Tolkien in PE17:100. According to the first the translation ’= nicotiana, Gondor Sindarin for ’pipeweed” is given, followed by the form galen and Quenya forms alanasse, ale which are added without translation. This seems to point towards GAL2- ’grow, spread, increase’ (or ’grow/flourish’ in PE17:153) with N. galas ’growth’, N. galo ’to grow’. Perhaps the formation goes via adjectival *galanā > *alana ’grown’ and the noun suffix -sse in Quenya, while Sindarin substitutes galen < *galinā medially (by analogy). However, the mentioning of ’pipeweed’ inevitably leads to the suspicion that ’pipe’ is contained somewhere within the words – this can only be #nasse or #asse (N./S. #-as), but it cannot be conceivably related to any known root.
The second explanation cites the element nes- ’sweet smelling’ > *S. ne ’scent’. Gondor Sindarin galenas is said to be from galanes (hence probably a corruption by the Gondorians) and would thus originally mean *’sweet smelling plant’, cognate of Q. alenesse, alanesse < ale, #ala ’plant’ + #nesse *’sweet smelling’. Compare the description in the Prologue to The Lord of the Rings:
The Men of Gondor call it sweet galenas, and esteem it only for the fragrance of its flowers.