Linden - Tilia

The Linden

The common lime, common name for tilia vulgaris, is a very beautiful tree, belonging to the Tiliacee family. Its name derives from the Greek term “ptilon” with the meaning of wing, referring to its fofliacea bract that facilitates the spread of the fruit clusters thanks to the blowing of the wind.

The different species are native to different areas of the world, from Europe, to America to Asia. In our country, the lime tree grows more widely in isolation and never above 1000 meters above sea level. The tree can reach large dimensions, even exceed thirty meters in height. Depending on the species, it boasts rounded, moval, or columnar foliage, with widths ranging from ten to twenty meters. Tilia vulgaris is widespread as an ornamental tree for avenues and parks, thanks to its particular adaptability combined with rusticity, vigor and aesthetic beauty. Its use is almost exclusively aimed at the decoration of parks, tree-lined avenues and gardens. Due to its characteristic wide and dense foliage it is much appreciated as a dispenser of shady places, both in avenues and in corners of the garden. It is also rarely used for the reconstruction of river forests. Its bark has a dark gray color and various veins that run longitudinally.

Leaves, flowers

The linden tree has as a particular of its beauty a lively foliage in an admirable succession of colors that go from a pale, soft green, up to decidedly richer shades tending to dark green, to arrive at shades close to pale gold in autumn. The leaves are large and heart-shaped and have a slightly serrated edge. The flowers also give the tree an extraordinary liveliness, especially during the summer season when they revive their initially yellowish white color which later turns towards a brighter shade of yellow. The flowers are hermaphroditic and have a calyx with 5 sepals and a corolla with 5 petals.


The lime tree must be sown in March in terrines. Subsequently, when the seedlings reach a size that can be manipulated during growth, it is advisable to repot them in a cold box. At the arrival of October, as the temperature decreases, the seedlings are transplanted into the nursery where their cultivation is planned for three or four years. After this time it is finally time for the final planting.


The common lime prefers sunny locations, equally tolerating torrid climates and harsh winter climates. It has excellent ability to adapt to urban environments, and in any case excellent ability to adapt to different temperatures. For indoor lime trees, it is better to maintain a temperature of around 10 or 15 degrees throughout the year.


The tree has excellent adaptability, from acidic to alkaline soils. However, it prefers calcareous, very deep, drained and fertile soils.


It easily tolerates pruning. For this reason, it is possible to bring more specimens together in the planting, in order to create a gallery effect or a suggestive green arch.


The tree has the characteristic of evaporating a lot of moisture. It is therefore advisable to keep the soil of the lime tree moist without reaching water stagnation. Water more in summer, less as the temperature decreases


The lime tree has several enemies that can attack it, causing even serious damage. Among the tree's enemy lepidoptera we remember the cherry tree bombice, which eats its leaves, the bucephala, which devours the parenchyma of the leaves, and finally the apiform sesia, perhaps the most dangerous, which digs tunnels at the base of the tree trunk, attacking at the roots, with serious risks for the life of the lime tree.

Among the mites the most dangerous are the eriophyids, which cause visible damage to the underside of the leaves and the yellow spider mites, particularly annoying for the twigs of the tree.

As regards the attack of fungi, on the other hand, the assault of the gnomonia tiliae, which carries dark spots on leaves and twigs, or of the pyrenochaeta pubescens which leads to the drying of the bark, and finally of the cercospora macrospora, responsible for a endless number of spots on the leaf, damaging it until it falls.

Other species

As mentioned, there are several species of lime tree.

The most common are: the American linden, common name for tilia americana, a tree that reaches up to 30 meters in height and is particularly resistant to heat and drought and for this reason it keeps its leaves for a long time. It adapts easily to different types of terrain, however preferring sandy and fresh soils. The American is also often grown in avenues and parks.

The wild linden (tilia cordata), which has dark bark, can reach 30 meters in height and prefers deep and rich soils. It has leaves with a 2-3 centimeter long petiole with the characteristic of presenting tufts of reddish hair between the veins.

Tilea platyphillos (hybrid between europaea and grandifolia), with wide foliage, heights of around 25 meters and very deep roots. It especially prefers a high degree of humidity, in the air and in the ground.

Finally, we remember the tormentosa tilea, with very branched foliage and heights up to 20 meters, particularly resistant to bad weather and drought.


Linden is a long-lived plant with ancient properties, highly appreciated for solving physical ailments at a phytotherapeutic level. It is particularly suitable for those suffering from insomnia, respiratory problems, those prone to anxiety and nervousness and frequent headaches. The leaves of the plant can be used in different ways according to your needs. You can make lime infusions by boiling some leaves and flowers of the plant in a cup of water and leaving to infuse for 10 minutes. Once ready, you can taste the drink and take advantage of its benefits before going to bed to fully enjoy its relaxing and sedative action. For states of anxiety and stress, a hot lime bath is a real cure-all to decrease tension and soothe the soul. Linden is used in case of eye fatigue, bags and redness. In these cases it is good to make compresses with lime by soaking cotton or gauze soaked in the substance and then applying them on the eyes.


Tilia platyphyllos Scop.

Tilia cordata Mill.

Fam. Tiliaceae


The lime tree is a deciduous tree, which reaches a height of up to 30 meters with dark bark and reddish longitudinal furrows along the trunk. The heart-shaped leaves, hairless on the upper and lower side, have brown hairs at the corners of the veins, the leaf blade has a serrated edge, a sharp apex and a hairless petiole. The greenish-yellow flowers appear in June-July, have an intense fragrance and are gathered in pendulous corymbose inflorescences, with the peduncle inserted in a large bract that acts as a "parachute" once the fruits are ripe, promoting their dissemination. The fruits are spherical with a fragile pericarp and barely visible ribs.
The Tilia platyphyllos differs from T. cordata for the coloring of the hairs at the corner of the veins of the leaf blade and for the pubescent petiole. The inflorescences bear 2-5 flowers, the fruits have protruding ribs.

Ownership and uses

Linden flowers have anti-inflammatory, sedative spasmolytic, diaphoretic and hypotensive properties.

Cultivation techniques

Land and environment
It grows spontaneously throughout Europe in the deciduous forests of the plains and hills from 0 to 1400 m. s.l.m., it prefers fresh, deep, well humified soils, with a basically acidic pH.

The new plants can be obtained from seed, from cuttings from stump suckers. Sowing is carried out at the end of winter or in spring in outdoor seedbeds or in pots.
To facilitate the germination of the seeds, often hard and slow to germinate, it is necessary to intervene with stratification for 4-5 months at a temperature of 25-27 ° C and then for the same period at 2 ° C. Another technique consists in treating the seeds with concentrated nitric acid for about an hour and a half to two, therefore, it is necessary to wash them, dry them and then immerse them for about 15 minutes in a solution of concentrated sulfuric acid to affect the seminal integument, burying them. subsequently for 4 months at 2 ° C.
If possible, it is advisable to collect the seeds directly from the plant, and this operation should be performed when the seminal integuments begin to turn brown.
Immediate planting in the seedbed accelerates the moment of germination, allowing you to have small seedlings ready for planting in the nursery as early as the following autumn.
The multiplication by semi-woody cutting is performed using the suckers that grow at the base of the tree. The ability to root suckers is very high and it is also possible to perform layering on these. During the rooting phase of young seedlings, it will be important to supply water frequently, also distributing it by nebulization. On young lime trees it is possible to intervene with grafting to obtain homogeneous plants or particular varieties.

Plant layout
In the crops tested at the ITAS Scartabelli in Imola and at the Giardino delle Erbe in Casola Valsenio, the lime trees were placed at a distance of 4.5 meters between the rows and 3 meters along the row.

Cultural care
The plants require some suckling operations in order to eliminate the numerous stump suckers that develop during the year. During the growth it will be necessary to intervene with small cuts or ligatures on the new branches, to guarantee a correct development of the plant, giving it the desired shape of free spindle. A few weeds are sufficient to eliminate weeds. In the winter months, pruning must be carried out which has the task of limiting the size of the plant and eliminating the numerous aerial suckers that developed in the summer.

The addition of organic matter to the plant in a quantity of 400 q / ha is carried out before the main processing. Small quantities of nitrogen or a ternary fertilizer can be added in quantities of 60-70 units / ha at the vegetative restart.

Collection and yield
The collection of the inflorescences takes place at the beginning of the closing of the flowers. Harvesting is normally done by hand, detaching the bract with the flower. In the tests carried out at the Casola Valsenio herb garden and at the ITAS Scartabelli in Imola, the collection of flowers was carried out with the help of collection carts which facilitated the detachment of the flowers in the highest branches of the plant. The cultivated plants are kept at a maximum height of 3.5-4 meters in this way it facilitates the collection of flowers, avoiding the collector, the risk of falling down the stairs, increasing the yield per operating unit. The product obtained is of excellent quality. The collection of flowers must be carried out in a short time as flowering is very short, especially in the " American is platyphyllos ". With this technique, a person's ability to collect is three times that of collecting with the aid of ladders. The tests are still in progress but it is possible to report values ​​of about 8-9 kg of fresh flowers per hour for each binder.


Among the parasites that can cause damage to the lime tree we remember: Eucallipterus tiliae Linnaeus or green aphid of the lime tree. It infests the leaves with its sucking activity, causing them to dry out and fall early. The remarkable honeydew produced by the green aphid smears the leaves of the lime tree until it dirties what is under the plant. Eulecanium tiliae Linnaeus is a cochineal that infests branches and leaves, with vegetative decay and honeydew contamination of the vegetation. The Eupulvinaria hydrangeae Steinweden, a cochineal widespread especially in the central-northern regions of Italy, infests the leaves on the underside and the young twigs as early as the months of March-April. Phyllobius oblongus L., on the other hand, causes erosions on the leaves and flowers, devouring the corolla, the stamens and the pistil.

Tilia tomentosa / Tomentose linden

Species: Tilia tomentosa Moench
Italian common noun: Tomentose lime, Silvered lime
Family: Tiliaceae
Climate resistance: + / -20 ° C - Legislative Decree no. 151

Origin: Southeast Europe, Southwest Asia.

Botanical characteristics: It is a large deciduous tree, reaching 30 mt in height with a large columnar crown. It has young downy shoots. Leaves are from ovate to cordite, dark green on the upper surface and white-gray and downy on the lower one. In autumn they turn yellow. In July it bears white flowers, clustered in groups up to 10 deeply fragrant flowers.

Agronomic and environmental characteristics: It is a plant cultivated in Europe. It adapts to dry surfaces and resists drought and pollution.

Use: In parks and large gardens is used as single specimen, in group, in coppices or along the tree-lined avenues. It fits excellently in urban environments.

Need some Infos?

Can not find the plant that's right for you? Contact us to have one made ad hoc according to your needs, or to get more information.

Cultivation of the Linden - Tilia


The common lime prefers sunny locations, equally tolerating torrid climates and harsh winter climates. It has excellent ability to adapt to urban environments, and in any case excellent ability to adapt to different temperatures. For indoor lime trees, it is better to maintain a temperature of around 10 or 15 degrees throughout the year.


Although the lime tree does not have special needs regarding the nature of the soil, it grows well in acidic and alkaline soils, however it prefers deep, calcareous soils, rich in organic matter and well drained.


The tree already well developed and planted for some time is satisfied with the rains. The young and recently planted specimen, on the other hand, requires regular irrigation, especially in dry periods and in summer to allow for regular development of the root system. In autumn, watering must be reduced and suspended in the winter months.


The lime tree should be fertilized during the growth period with a slow-release fertilizer, towards the end of winter. The soil is enriched before planting by mixing it with mature or pelleted manure.

Linden flowers (Tilia platyphyllos)

Tilia platyphyllos is a deciduous tree native to much of Europe, including locally in southwestern Great Britain, growing on lime-rich soils. The common name Large-leaved Linden is in standard use throughout the English-speaking world except in Britain, where it has largely (but not universally) been replaced by the name Large-leaved Lime. It is frequently planted as an ornamental tree in parks, or as a shade tree or a lawn tree. It has been introduced in the US (New England).

The local lime tree (Tilia platyphyllos Scop.), Also known by the name of Tiglio nostrale is a tree of the Tiliaceae family, widespread in continental Europe and in the Caucasus.

Tilia (Linden) is a genus of plants from the Tiliaceae family. The name derives from the Greek ptilon (= wing), due to the characteristic leafy bract that facilitates the wind spread of the fruit clusters.

They are large trees, very long-lived, with an expanded, deep root system. They have a sturdy trunk, at the base of which numerous suckers frequently develop, and a broad, branchy and rounded crown. The initially smooth bark shows longitudinal cracks over time.

It has alternate, asymmetrical, petiolate leaves with a corded base and acute at the apex, with variously serrated edges.

The flowers, hermaphrodite, fragrant, have a calyx of 5 sepals and a corolla with 5 yellowish petals, numerous stamens welded to the base to form numerous tufts the pistil is unique with an overpentaocular ovary are gathered in groups of 3 in bunches from long peduncles originating from an ovoid leaf bract

Tilia platyphyllosLarge-leaved lime

Credit: Felipe Castilla / Arbolapp (CSIC / FECYT) Credit: MurielBendel / Wikimedia Credit: 3268zauber / Wikimedia Credit: 3268zauber / Wikimedia Credit: MurielBendel / Wikimedia

Large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos) is a large and long-living tree. The distribution range of the tree is more limiting than the very similar small-leaved lime. The large-leaved lime, though, reaches slightly further south and is rarely found in Northern Europe.

The wood is soft and resistant to splitting, which makes it valuable for carving, musical instruments, clogs and beehives. The European species of lime generally have high cultural value and are historically important in the open landscape, in urban areas and in recreational forests. The tree is important for honeybees and honey production and tea made from its flowers is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

The large-leaved lime is tolerant of shade and usually grows in dense forests in association with other species. It easily reproduces vegetatively, while sprouts also vigorously develop from the base of the trunk, making it suitable for coppicing.

Genetic conservation units - a forest stand or area that contains tree populations nationally designated for conservation of FGR.

in situ genetic conservation unit

ex situ genetic conservation unit

Core network - a selection of genetic conservation units that aims to capture the existing genetic diversity of a tree species across Europe, to ensure the adaptive potential of the species.

Distribution range - map showing the occurence of the species in Europe, including natural and naturalized stands.

Environmental zones

To learn more about the map elements, please download the "Pan-European strategy for genetic conservation of forest trees"

Caudullo, G., Welk, E., San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., 2017. Chorological maps for the main European woody species. Given in Brief 12, 662-666. DOI:

Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use

Tilia cordata and Tilia platyphyllos - Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use for lime

A network of conservation stands is needed to conserve the genetic variation of limes, which have evolved through adaptation to different ecological and environmental conditions. Conservation and breeding programs in all countries where lime is found is required to ensure the conservation of the genepool. Specific strategies should include:

Sampling strategies: Inventories are needed to provide an overview of the status of genetic conservation in each individual country and at the European scale. For practical purposes, provenance regions can be identified on the basis of ecogeographic variation and can be modified to take into account either expected gene flow or general knowledge about genetic variation within the species.

Central core regions: Large genetic reserves within the central core regions of distribution are needed for effective gene conservation purposes and should be given high priority, as large genetic variation is expected to be present in the core distribution area. In general, Tilia occurs in mixed species forest and is associated with a number of different plant species. Existing protected areas will only partly serve as genetic conservation areas, as they are not selected at random nor do they cover the core regions of distribution.

Marginal regions: In some regions, large gene reserves of Tilia are lacking, and these genetic resources may be extensively fragmented. They may also be subject to pollen contamination from new plantations originating from non-local seed sources. For these situations, in situ conservation may not be effective. In some of the marginal regions the regeneration of Tilia is lacking or inadequate. Ex situ conservation of Tilia genetic resources is therefore recommended in marginal regions. Preferably, these ex situ conservation stands should be established on the basis of reproductive material from within the local regions, in accordance with in situ silvicultural management principles. In situ conservation in marginal regions should include a larger number of populations.

Use and management of genetic resources: Breeding, improvement and management of genetic resources of Tilia should be combined with gene conservation to allow evolutionary forces to continue. Combining conservation and use is especially necessary for species of low economic interest (“use it or lose it”). At some locations the lime trees may be eradicated, if costly and extensive precautions are not taken. Alternatively, these resources could be used to promote the establishment of new populations from local seed collections.

A network of conservation stands is needed to conserve the genetic variation of limes, which have evolved through adaptation to different ecological and environmental conditions. Conservation and breeding programs in all countries where lime is found is required to ensure the conservation of the genepool. Specific strategies should include:

Variety or species of Linden

There are several species of lime, some originating from the European continent, others from America Asia, also widespread in Italy in a spontaneous state or cultivated as an ornament in parks and gardens or as trees along avenues and roads.

American tilia

Originally from North America and called American lime tree in Italy, it is a variety that reaches up to 30 meters in height and is particularly resistant to heat and drought and for this reason it keeps its leaves for a long time. It adapts easily to different types of terrain, however preferring sandy and fresh soils. Also this species is often cultivated as in avenues and parks.

Tilia platyphyllos

Commonly known as Local lime, is a tree of European origin of considerable size, sometimes exceeding 45 meters in height. It hybridizes with the other lime tree that is found spontaneously in Italy, Tilia cordata, giving rise to Tilia x vulgaris. It has very deep roots, an erect trunk and a wide crown with branches covered with large heart-shaped leaves, initially pale green and slightly hairy below. It prefers cool and humid places.

Tilia cordata

The Wild linden is a medium-sized tree, native to Europe. In Italy it is found spontaneously in the mountains of the northern regions up to 1,500 meters. The trunk has dark bark, the leaves are smaller, have a 2-3 centimeter long petiole and have tufts of reddish hair between the veins. It should be grown in fresh soils, rich in organic matter and well drained. It withstands minimum temperatures of -5 ° C.

Tilia tomentosa

The Tilia argentea or Silvered lime it is a species native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. It reaches a height of 20 meters and is distinguished from the others by the dense white hair it covers, the twigs, leaf peduncles, and lower page. It is the most widespread and cultivated species for ornamental purposes in city parks and road trees in cities because it is particularly resistant to bad weather, drought and pollution.

Uses of the lime tree

The lime tree is a very popular plant as an ornamental plant in public parks, for the trees of city streets and as a single element to shade corners of gardens exposed to full sun.

Use in the kitchen

All parts of the lime tree are edible: the most tender sprouts can be eaten like spinach, boiled, stir-fried, fried and as a filling for savory pies. Fresh leaves are excellent in salads or cooked in soups or as a filling for rustic dishes.

Its very plastic and easy to work wood is used in carpentry for inlay works, wood sculptures, toys, home furnishings, frames, brushes and many other things.

The seeds are used for the production of a vegetable oil with a flavor similar to that of extra virgin olive oil.

Leaves as food for animals.

Linden flowers are edible and can be consumed both fresh and dried but their greater use, in most countries of the world, are used for their beneficial properties.

In addition, the plant parts of the lime tree, flowers, leaves and bark, thanks to their multiple properties, are used in homeopathy, herbal medicine and folk medicine for the treatment of respiratory and skin diseases.


The scientific name of the lime tree derives from the Greek “ptilon” which means wing and refers to its leafy bract that facilitates the spread of the fruit when the wind blows.

The oldest lime tree in our country, 34 meters high and with a trunk of 8 meters in circumference, is located in Summonte, a small town in the province of Avellino, in Piazza Alessio De Vito. Due to its longevity, it is considered the symbol of the Irpinia town and inserted between the trees and a monument of Italy.

Video: Φλαμουριά ανθισμένη στην Αγία Παρασκευή ΆνωΧώρας Ορεινής Ναυπακτίας

Previous Article

Stenocereus beneckei f. inermis

Next Article

Prairie Garden Design: Tips For Creating A Prairie Style Garden