Tilia cordata (Small-leaved Lime, occasionally Small-leaved Linden or Little-leaf Linden) is a species of Tilia native to much of Europe and western Asia, north to southern Great Britain (north to about Durham), central Scandinavia, all over Romania, east to central Russia, and south to central Spain, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Caucasus; in the south of its range it is restricted to high altitudes.
It is a deciduous tree growing to 20–40 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter. The leaves are alternately arranged, rounded to triangular-ovate, 3–8 cm long and broad, mostly hairless (unlike the related Tilia platyphyllos) except for small tufts of brown hair in the leaf vein axils - the leaves are distinctively heart-shaped. The small yellow-green hermaphrodite flowers are produced in clusters of five to eleven in early summer with a leafy yellow-green subtending bract, have a rich, heavy scent; the trees are much visited by bees. The fruit is a dry nut-like drupe 6–7 mm long by 4 mm broad (infertile fruits are globose), downy at first becoming smooth at maturity, and (unlike T. platyphyllos) not ribbed. The Linden honey is considered to be valuable in both nutritional and medical aspects.
In Britain, it is considered an indicator of ancient woodland, and is becoming increasingly rare. Because of this rarity a number of woods have been given SSSI status. One such site is Shrawley Wood in Worcestershire.
Cultivation and uses
Tilia cordata is widely grown as an ornamental tree throughout its native range in Europe. It was much planted to form avenues in 17th and early 18th century landscape planning. A famous example is Unter den Linden in Berlin. Sarajevo's streets used to be lined with them as well and inspired a song by Bijelo Dugme. It is also widely cultivated in North America as a substitute for the native Tilia americana (American linden or basswood) which has a larger leaf, coarser in texture; there it has been renamed "Little-leaf Linden".
Linden flower tea
In the countries of Central Europe, Ukraine, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia, linden flowers are a traditional herbal remedy (linden flower tea), considered to be of value as an anti-inflammatory in a range of respiratory problems: colds, fever, flu, sore throat, bronchitis, cough and others.
The Najevnik linden tree (Slovene: Najevska lipa), an about 700 years old Tilia cordata, is the thickest tree in Slovenia. It is a place of cultural events, and every June a national meeting of Slovene politicians takes place under it.
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- Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
- Den Virtuella Floran: Tilia cordata (in Swedish; with maps
- Flora of NW Europe: Tilia cordata
- Linden - Lime - Basswood Honey
- Flora of NW Europe: Tilia vulgaris
- Natural England internal website
- Natural England Citation dated 12 May 1986
- [Flora Herb & Supplement Encyclopedia http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/HealthInformation/Encyclopedias/LindenFlos.htm]
- Vernon, J. (2007). Fruits of the forest. The Garden November 2007: 738. Royal Horticultural Society.
- Aberystwyth University campus walks tree directory. Aberystwyth University sports centre. p. 9. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- Šmid Hribar, Mateja. "Najevska lipa" [Najevnik Linden Tree]. In Šmid Hribar, Mateja; Golež, Gregor; Podjed, Dan; Kladnik, Drago; Erhartič, Bojan; Pavlin, Primož; Ines, Jerele. Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem – DEDI [Encyclopedia of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Slovenia] (in Slovene). Retrieved 28 August 2013.