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  • Botany

Tilia cordata

Tilia cordata is the most widespread species of lime tree found spontaneously in forests. It is a large and beautiful tree, that can grow to between 20 and 25 metres in height.

Le tilleul à petites feuilles
Tilia cordata. © Waugsberg, GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2


Tilia cordatais a member of the Tiliaceae family, and is sometimes called the "small-leaved linden".

Botanical description

This species has a wide, dome-shaped top and branches that tend to droop with age. Its greenish-grey bark cracks as the tree grows older.

Its deciduous leaves measure 4 to 7 centimetres. Its leaves are oblong and very dentated around their circumference, and have a smooth dark-green upper side and a grey-blue underside.

Tilia cordata
Tilia cordata. © Liez GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2

In June its forked inflorescences have between three and sixteen flowers. At the base of the petiole of these inflorescences is a straight and membranous leaf that later forms the organ for dispersing small fruit. The petals of its flowers are yellowish-white. Its achenes have thin and spherical walls.

Its fruit are round and small (5 to 8 millimetres in diameter) with a bulging side.


This tree is found almost everywhere in Europe, from the British Isles to Russia. In France, it grows spontaneously in the plains and hilly regions, especially in Alsace and in Lorraine. It was one of the trees chosen in 1792 to represent the values of the French Revolution.

Growing conditions

This lime tree especially thrives in rich, deep, fresh and clay soil. It prefers partial shade and can adapt to a covering.


The wood of the lime tree is white, tender, consistent and has a very fine grain. It is remarkably stable after drying, but does not resist humidity very well. Its wood is used to make furniture frames, picture frames, clogs and different types of wooden objects.

Author: Michel Caron

Tilia cordata. © Daniel Arnold, GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2 Tilia cordata. © Daniel Arnold, GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2

Tilia cordata - 3 Photos


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