Tilia cordata Mill.

small-leaved lime, little-leaf linden
Malvaceae
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HermaphroditeWoodMedicinal


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Tilia cordata
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Tilia cordata: Appearance of a young specimen in spring

Appearance of a young specimen in springBranch with broadly ovate leaves with an asymmetrical cordate base and a short acuminate apexAbaxial side of a leaf with tufts of reddish hairs in the vein axilsBranch with 4 cymose inflorescences with long bracted pedunclesBranch with fruits (nutlets) with pedicels and weakly developed ribs; the peduncle of the fruits is partially fused to the lower half of a long bract
Etymology

Tilia: Ancient Latin name for linden tree

cordatus, -a, -um: heart-shaped, because of the shape of its leaves

Description

Habit: Deciduous tree up to 30 m tall; trunk bark grayish, with few longitudinal fissures; crown broad, regular, subglobose or ovoid.

Leaves: alternate, deciduous, simple, petiolate, with large, deciduous stipules; blade 3-10 cm long, broadly ovate, with a cordate base and a short acuminate apex; margins irregularly dentate-serrate; adaxial side glabrous; abaxial side with tufts of simple reddish hairs on the axils of the veins.

Flowers: hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, hypogynous, fragrant, pentamerous, arranged in erect pedunculate cymes, with an obtuse ligulate oblong bract with its lower half fused to the peduncle; calyx polysepalous; corolla polypetalous, yellowish; staminoids absent; stamens numerous; gynoecium syncarpous, 5-carpellate, with a superior ovary.

Fruit: smooth ovoid carcerule 6-8 mm long with 1-2 seeds.

Phenology

It flowers at the end of spring; fruits mature in summer.

Geographic origin

Native to most of Europe, including the mountains in the N of the Iberian Peninsula.

Observations

It is often planted as an ornamental and shade tree in streets and parks because of its dense foliage and fragrant flowers. All the species of the genus Tilia are appreciated for the sedative and antispasmodic properties of their flowers (inflorescences and bracts), which are used to make tea (called "tila" in Spanish) to treat anxiety and associated symptoms such as insomnia and nervousness.

It is propagated from seeds or by grafting.

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