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Little-Leaf Linden (Tilia cordata)

Little-Leaf Linden Leaves Little-Leaf Linden Flowers Little-Leaf Linden Fruit

Little-Leaf (or Small-Leaved) Linden (Tilia cordata) is an interesting tree growing near the Sink Hole area behind the Arboretum's juniper collection. It has relatively small, heart-shaped, finely toothed, shiny dark green leaves. In late April to May it produces small fragrant creamy yellow flowers in clusters subtending distinctive lime-colored, papery bracts. Bees and other insects are attracted to the flowers, and it is considered to be a good honey tree. Fruits consist of clusters of brown nutlets subtended by the papery bracts and mature in early fall, often persisting into the winter months.

The tree can grow to heights of 60 to 80 ft with a spread of up to 40 to 50 ft. A native of Europe and the Caucasians, Little-Leaf Linden has been planted extensively in Europe and the U.S. as an urban/street tree because it tolerates air pollution, poor soil conditions, and drought. In Britain and Europe members of the genus Tilia are known as Lime or Linden trees. Tilia cordata flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal have been used historically for a wide variety of medicinal purposes. An extract has been used in skin care products, detergents, makeup, and hair care products. The wood has also been used for carving and for making string and wind musical instruments.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
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