Tilia tomentosa Moench

silver lime, silver linden
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Tilia tomentosa
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Tilia tomentosa: Appearance of the tree at the end of spring

Appearance of the tree at the end of springBranch with leaves that are green above and ± silvery below, broadly ovate, with an asymmetrical cordate base and a short acuminate apexPendulous cyme with a long peduncle partly fused to the lower half of a long bractThree flowers 0.5 cm in diam.; the one on the right clearly shows the petaloid staminodesBranch (lateral view) with fruits (nutlets) with pedicels and marked ribs; the peduncle of the fruits is partially fused to the lower half of a long bract

Tilia: Ancient Latin name for linden tree

tomentosus, -a, -um: felt-like, with a dense woolly covering


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

Leaves: alternate, deciduous, simple, petiolate, with large, deciduous stipules; blade 6-11 cm long, broadly ovate, with a cordate base and a short acuminate apex; margins irregularly dentate; leaves densely tomentose abaxially with silvery stellate hairs.

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

Fruit: 5-ribbed ovoid carcerule 6-8 mm long with 1-2 seeds.


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

Geographic origin

Native to E Europe.


In some of the individuals growing on this campus, there is a lower density of stellate hairs, so the underside of the blade does not have the characteristic silvery tone of the species. Considering that species of the genus Tilia hybridize easily, such individuals could be the result of a hybrid crossing between T. tomentosa and some other species of the genus.

It is widely cultivated in most of the Iberian Peninsula 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. In dry summers, the leaves turn yellowish and even fall prematurely because of Eotetranycus tiliarum, a mite of the family Tetranychidae.

It is propagated from seeds or by grafting.

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