Tilia × europaea

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Tilia ×europaea
Common limes, avenue.jpg
Avenue of common limes, Hampshire, UK
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Tilia
T. ×europaea
Binomial name
Tilia ×europaea
  • Tilia × vulgarisHayne

Tilia × europaea, generally known as the European lime, [1] common lime (British Isles) or common linden, is a naturally occurring hybrid between Tilia cordata (small-leaved lime) and Tilia platyphyllos (large-leaved lime). It occurs in the wild in Europe at scattered localities wherever the two parent species are both native. [2] [3] It is not closely related to the lime fruit tree, a species of citrus.



Tilia x europaea foliage Tilia x europea-1.JPG
Tilia × europaea foliage

Tilia × europaea is a large deciduous tree up to 15–50 metres (49–164 feet) tall with a trunk up to 2.5 m (8 ft). The base of the trunk often features burrs and a dense mass of brushwood. [4] The leaves are intermediate between the parents, 6–15 centimetres (2–6 inches) long and 6–12 cm (2–5 in) broad, thinly hairy below with tufts of denser hairs in the leaf vein axils. The flowers are produced in clusters of four to ten in early summer with a leafy yellow-green subtending bract; they are fragrant, and pollinated by bees. The floral formula is ✶ K5 C5 A0+5G(5). [5] The fruit is a dry nut-like drupe 8 millimetres (38 in) in diameter, downy and faintly ribbed. [2]


Common limes in the landscape, King's Somborne, United Kingdom Common limes in the landscape, Kings Somborne, UK.jpg
Common limes in the landscape, King's Somborne, United Kingdom

This hybrid is very widely cultivated, being readily and inexpensively propagated by layering; as a result, it is often the commonest Tilia species in urban areas and along avenues and streets. It is not however the best species for this purpose, as it produces abundant stem sprouts, and also often hosts heavy aphid populations resulting in honeydew deposits on everything underneath the trees. Furthermore, there is substantial leaf litter in autumn (fall). [2]

Notable trees

One long-lived example was the "Malmvik lime", planted as a sapling near the Malmvik Manor in Stockholm, Sweden in 1618. The tree existed for 381 years until the last part of the tree fell in a storm in 1999. [6] The UK Tree Register Champion is at Aysgarth, Yorkshire, measuring 26 m (85 ft) in height and 295 cm (9 ft 8 in) diameter at breast height in 2009. [7] The tree in front of Augustusburg Hunting Lodge in Saxony was planted in 1421 according to the chronicles of Augustusburg. [8] Some 13 limes were planted at Mullary cemetery Co Louth Ireland to commemorate "king Billy's" victory at the battle of the Boyne in circa 1669 as lime are not native to Ireland and they were planted to mark the foreign victory, they remain standing today.


The leaves, except for their stalks, can be eaten raw. [9]

The infusion of its blossoms functions as a mild relaxant.

The wood of the lime was commonly used by Vikings in their shields.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

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<i>Tilia</i> Plant genus

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<i>Tilia cordata</i> Species of tree

Tilia cordata, the small-leaved lime or small-leaved linden, is a species of tree in the family Malvaceae, native to much of Europe. Other common names include little-leaf or littleleaf linden, or traditionally in South East England, pry or pry tree. Its range extends from Britain through mainland Europe to the Caucasus and western Asia. In the south of its range it is restricted to high elevations.

<i>Tilia platyphyllos</i> Species of tree

Tilia platyphyllos, the large-leaved lime or large-leaved linden, is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae (Tiliaceae). It is a deciduous tree, native to much of Europe, including locally in southwestern Great Britain, growing on lime-rich soils. The common names largeleaf linden and large-leaved linden are in standard use throughout the English-speaking world except in the British Isles, where it is known as large-leaved lime. The name "lime", possibly a corruption of "line" originally from "lind", has been in use for centuries and also attaches to other species of Tilia. It is not, however, closely related to the lime fruit tree, a species of citrus.

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<i>Karpatiosorbus latifolia</i> Species of tree

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<i>Ulmus minor <span style="font-style:normal;">subsp.</span> canescens</i> Subspecies of tree

Ulmus minorsubsp.canescens is a small deciduous tree occasionally known by the common names grey elm, grey-leafed elm, and hoary elm. Its natural range extends through the lands of the central and eastern Mediterranean, from southern Italy, the islands of Sicily, Malta, Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus, to Turkey, and as far south as Israel, where it is now considered rare and endangered in the wild. The tree is typically found amidst the comparatively humid coastal woodlands and scrublands.

<i>Tilia tomentosa</i> Species of flowering plant

Tilia tomentosa, known as silver linden in the US and silver lime in the UK, is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae, native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, from Romania and the Balkans east to western Turkey, occurring at moderate altitudes.

<i>Eriophyes tiliae</i> Species of mite

Eriophyes tiliae is a mite that forms the lime nail gall or bugle gall. It develops in a chemically induced gall; an erect, oblique or curved distortion rising up from the upper surface of the leaves of the lime (linden) trees, such as the large-leaved lime tree Tilia platyphyllos, the common lime tree Tilia × europaea, etc.

<i>Chrysoclista linneella</i> Species of moth

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<i>Bucculatrix thoracella</i> Species of moth in genus Bucculatrix

Bucculatrix thoracella, the lime bent-wing, is species of moth in the family Bucculatricidae, and was first described in 1794 by Carl Peter Thunberg as Tinea thoracella. It is found throughout Europe with exception of Ireland and the Balkan Peninsula, and in Japan, where it occurs on the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu.

<i>Tilia mongolica</i> Species of tree

Tilia mongolicaMaxim., commonly known as Mongolian lime, is a tree native to mountains of the northern China, growing up to elevations of 1200–2200 m.

<i>Tilia caroliniana</i> Species of tree

Tilia carolinianaMill. is a species of tree in the family Malvaceae native to the southern and south-eastern states of the U.S., and Mexico.

<i>Quercus <span style="font-style:normal;">×</span> hispanica</i> Hybrid species of oak tree

Quercus × hispanica, commonly known as Spanish oak, is tree in the family Fagaceae. It is a hybrid between the European trees Turkey oak and cork oak.

<i>Tilia japonica</i> Species of tree

Tilia japonica, the Japanese lime or Japanese linden, is a species of Tilia native to eastern China and Japan, preferring to grow in mountains up to 2000 m. It superficially resembles the better-known Tilia cordata, the small-leaved lime, and was originally described as Tilia cordata var. japonica. It differs from T. cordata in having 164 chromosomes instead of 82, and by some subtle differences in leaf and flower morphology. T. japonica inflorescences consistently have 5 staminodes, which is a reliable trait distinguishing it from T. cordata and T. amurensis. Recent studies indicate T.japonica to play an important role in maintaining the ectomycorrhizal networks in local forests it grows in Japan.

<i>Quercus <span style="font-style:normal;">×</span> crenata</i> Species of plant

Quercus × crenata is a tree in the family Fagaceae. It is treated as a hybrid between the European trees Turkey oak and cork oak but may also represent a distinct species. In the past, it has often been called Quercus × hispanica, a name that properly refers to presumed hybrids between Portuguese oak and Quercus suber.


  1. "European Linden Tree Facts". Home Guides | SF Gate. Retrieved 2022-08-21.
  2. 1 2 3 Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN   0-00-220013-9.
  3. Flora of NW Europe: Tilia × europaea [ permanent dead link ]
  4. Alan Mitchell, The Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe, William Collins & Co Ltd 1974, ISBN   0-00-219213-6 (p.359)
  5. Ronse De Craene, Louis P. (2010-02-04). Floral Diagrams: An Aid to Understanding Flower Morphology and Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 225. ISBN   978-0-521-49346-8.
  6. Bengtsson, Rune (Winter 2004). "The Malmvik Lime: An Historical and Biological Analysis of the Oldest Documented Planting of Common Lime (Tilia x Europaea L.) in Sweden". Garden History. The Garden History Society. 32 (2): 188–196. doi:10.2307/4150380. JSTOR   4150380.
  7. Johnson, O. (2011). Champion Trees of Britain & Ireland.  p.165. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London.
  8. Lemke, Karl (1988). Naturdenkmale Bäume, Felsen, Wasserfälle. Hartmut Müller (1. Aufl ed.). Berlin. ISBN   978-3-350-00284-9. OCLC   75004491.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. Mabey, Richard (2012). Food for Free. London: Collins. p. 57. ISBN   978-000-743847-1.