§ melinon >> lebendron >> lebethras (WR:176)
These are earlier names of the tree lebethron. A detailed analysis of the last forms was made by Didier Willis, see .
For lebendron he suggests a compound with l(h)eben ’five’ (LEP-) and syncopated doron ’oak’ (DÓRON-), discussing several primitive variants; and for lebethras a formation from lepet- > l(h)ebed ’finger’ (LEP-, LEPET-, later: VT47:23-24) similar to gonathras ’entanglement’ (NAT-), thus perhaps meaning *’something made out of fingers, enfingerment’. The final form lebethron then could be either derived with the name-formative suffix -ron (although one might have expected *lebedron, as hadron ’thrower’ (KHAT-)) or be an ancient compound *lepet-doron > *lepetdron- > *lepettron- > lebethron. Thus, as he argues, all these names may refer to the ’finger-oak’, so called because its leaves resemble a hand with five fingers.
PE17:89 gives lebethron ’Gondor hardwood, kind of a tree’ < lepeth-ron, associated with Q. lepse which is ’finger’ under LEP-, LEPET-. The cognate of lebeth is Q. lepetta probably because of its leaves (like chestnut) [were] shaped like a fingered hand. But for the final part two different interpretations are given. According to the first oron ’tree’ becomes -(o)rŏnō in compound. According to the second lebethorn > lebethron by association with √RUN- ’rub, grind, smooth, polish’ because lebethron was used as word for the wood which took a high polish.
I may add on the first name melinon. Here, one may recall melin ’friends’ from The Return of the Shadow (see 1.19), but a tree with such a name seems doubtful. Instead we may be dealing here with N. malen ’yellow’ < ON malina (SMAL-). The medial -i- would not undergo a-affection in the compound and instead cause i-affection of the preceding -a-, as in Melthinorn (ibid.) with N. malthen ’of gold’, analogical for mallen < *maldina and N. orn ’tree, high isolated tree’ (ÓR-NI-). The suffix -on is often seen to form names in Noldorin and Sindarin, thus *malin-ondō > melinon.