Linden Trees: Types, Leaves, Flowers, Bark – Identification (with Pictures)

Linden trees, also known as Tilia, are huge deciduous shadow trees with heart-shaped broadleaves and clusters of yellowish-white blooms. Lime trees are a European term for linden trees, while basswood trees are a North American term. The thick furrowed trunks, horizontal branches, dense leafy foliage, and pyramidal growth habit of the Linden tree differentiate it from other trees.

The American linden basswood (Tilia americana) is the most common linden tree in North America. Yet, across the United States, European types of lindens such as the common linden (Tilia x europaea), small-leaf linden (Tilia cordata), silver linden (Tilia tomentosa), and weeping silver linden (Tilia tomentosa ‘Petiolaris) grow.

The proper identification of typical linden tree species is the subject of this article. These massive deciduous trees may be identified by descriptions and images of linden tree leaves, bark, blooms, and seeds.

Linden Tree Facts

The genus Tilia and the family Malvaceae include approximately 30 species of flowering deciduous linden trees and shrubs. Linden trees typically reach a height of 65 to 130 feet (20 to 40 meters) and a width of 50 feet (15 meters). The pyramidal, rounded crown and thick foliage of linden trees make them ideal for huge backyards.

The fragrant yellowish flowers that bloom in summer are characteristic of all linden tree species. Bees are drawn to the fragrant linden tree. Bees that pollinate linden trees produce exceptional honey. Linden trees are grown by certain beekeepers for the excellent honey that the bees produce. The linden tree is also known as the bee tree or honeybee tree owing to this characteristic.

Low-maintenance, easy-care landscaping trees are Linden trees. Full sun to partial shade and moist soil with excellent drainage are ideal conditions for a big deciduous linden or basswood tree. As specimen trees, fragrant linden trees from the Tilia genus flourish. Planting hedgerows to create a sweet-smelling flowering privacy screen is ideal for some of the linden tree cultivars.

Before you plant a linden tree, there’s one thing to consider: linden trees are messy. Lindens secrete a sticky sap, in addition to having to clear a lot of bright yellow leaves in the fall. Cars, pathways, your lawn, and even your clothes are covered in this secretion.

Linden Tree Leaves

Linden tree leaves have a heart-shaped or ovate triangular shape and are widely ovate. The serrated borders of linden leaves are alternately arranged and coarsely serrated. Linden leaves are 4″ to 8″ (10 – 20 cm) long and 2″ to 5″ (5 – 12 cm) wide, and they’re classified as simple leaves.

As the heart-shaped leaves develop bigger, young linden leaves acquire a fuzzy underside that turns smooth. Linden leaves have a lot in common with aspen tree leaves in terms of size. The leaves of the linden tree turn a brilliant golden hue in the autumn. Linden trees are easily seen in the autumn environment when the dark green leaves turn golden yellow.

Linden Tree Flower

The creamy yellow blooms of linden trees resemble drooping clusters of showy, fuzzy blossoms called cymes and are scented. Each cluster typically contains five to ten flowers. Late in the spring, the fragrant linden blooms bloom and stay throughout the summer. Linden tree blooms dangle from big, strap-shaped bracts.

Linden Tree Bark

As the linden tree ages, its gray ridged and furrowed scaly bark becomes apparent in landscapes. Immature trees have light gray bark that is relatively smooth and glossy. The bark of a linden tree develops ridges and furrows as it grows taller and matures.

The linden tree has some visual Winter appeal due to the gray, smooth bark on its branches. The fibrous inner bark of Linden tree bark is useful in a variety of ways. The bark was employed to make garments, and it is durable enough to create ropes or mats.

Linden Tree Seeds

Young green seeds (left) and mature creamy-brown seeds (right) On the end of a peduncle, tiny oval linden seeds grow in clusters. Each pea-sized and shaped hard, cream-colored seed is up to 0.2″ (0.5 cm) in diameter.

Linden Tree Identification

The ridged light gray bark, huge heart-shaped dark green leaves, and spectacular clusters of yellowish flowers distinguish Linden trees. The conical, oval crown of Linden trees, as well as their tightly growing foliage, are both distinctive. The distinctive tiny flower clusters that dangle beneath leaf-like bracts are also used to identify Linden trees.

Types of Linden Trees

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular linden trees for suburban and patio gardens, both in general and in particular.

American Linden – Basswood (Tilia americana)

The American linden tree (Tilia americana) is a basswood that grows natively in North America. The massive ovate or heart-shaped leaves, gray fissured bark, and ovate-rounded crown distinguish the huge American linden tree. The American linden grows to be 50 to 80 feet (15 to 25 meters) tall and broad as a dominating native tree.

USDA zones 2 – 8 are suitable for the American linden basswood tree, which grows in young and old bark. The tree thrives in full sun or partial shade in a garden landscape. It’s preferable to put the American linden tree in rich, well-draining loamy soil that stays wet for the most part.

In garden settings, American linden trees may be difficult to manage. The trees secrete a sticky substance, despite the showy linden flowers’ pleasant fragrance. In addition, as the yellow leaves fall, there is plenty of fall clean-up due to the thick foliage.

Honeybees are attracted to American basswood trees. The fuzzy-looking flower clusters and pleasant aroma attract the summer pollinators. American linden tree leaves are heart-shaped and ovate in appearance. The huge, serrated dark-green leaves may be up to 6 inches (15 cm) broad and are 6 inches (15 cm) long.

The linden leaves have a silvery underside, which makes the tree’s foliage dazzle in the breeze. The yellow color of the tree’s fall is stunning.

American linden tree flowers are pale yellow or creamy-tan in hue and have a delicate fragrance. Pendulous clusters of showy flowers dangle beneath a leaf-like bract, forming pendulous clusters. The five petals of the fragrant linden flowers make them seem fuzzy, and there are many stamens. Individual blooms may be up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length.

Redmond Linden (Tilia americana ‘Redmond’)

A fast-growing American basswood cultivar called the ‘Redmond’ linden tree. The heart-shaped leaves, dangling fragrant pale-yellow flower clusters, and gray furrowed bark of the ‘Redmond’ linden make it a popular tree. As a shade tree, the American linden ‘Redmond’ is ideal for large gardens.

Carolina Basswood (Tilia americana var. caroliniana)

Carolina basswood leaves subsp. Occidentalis (left) and flowers Carolina basswood is a serrated ovate tree with yellowish flowers and rough gray bark. It belongs to the Hemisphaerota (right) family. In USDA zones, the American linden tree variety reaches heights of 70 to 80 feet (21 to 24 meters). The Carolina linden tree’s large leaves, which may be up to 7″ (21 cm) long and 5.5″ (14 cm) broad, are easy to recognize.

European Linden (Tilia × europaea)

The ovate leaves with serrated edges, clusters of scented creamy-white flowers, and a rounded pyramidal crown of the European linden young tree (Tilia × europaea) are all characteristics. In late spring and summer, European linden produces visible flower clusters.

Smooth gray bark gives way to dark gray, grooved bark in European linden trees. USDA zone 3 – 7 is ideal for the European linden tree. It’s a tall, handsome tree that thrives on well-drained, wet soil and full sun. Between 50 and 70 feet (15 and 21 meters) tall and 30 to 50 feet (9 to 15 meters) broad, the European linden reaches maturity.

The European linden is a hybrid tree, as its botanical name, Tilia x europaea, indicates. Tilia cordata (small leaf linden) and Tilia platyphyllos (big-leaf linden) are two tree species that have been crossed. The European lime tree (Tilia x europaea) is distinguished by its smaller leaves and rounded crown, in comparison to the American linden. In comparison to the American linden, the European linden performs better in cities.

The linden tree leaves are broadly ovate and dark green in color, with a few having scattered spots. The tooth-edged, pointed leaves grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) long and are smaller than native lindens. The rich thick foliage becomes warm yellow tones in the autumn.

Drooping cymes that give off an powerful fragrance are the European linden tree’s flowers. Throughout the spring and summer, the creamy-white blooms bloom.

Little-Leaf Linden Tree (Tilia cordata)

Little leaf linden trees grow at a medium pace and reach 60 feet (18 meters) tall and 40 feet (12 meters) broad when fully mature. The 3″ (7.5 cm) long heart-shaped leaves that make up the thick pyramidal canopy are densely growing. The fragrant flowers smell gorgeous when the linden tree is in blossom during the summer.

USDA zones 3–8 are ideal for the small leaf linden. Because of its compact growth, the small leaf lime tree is a better shade tree than the American linden for backyards and garden landscapes. The small leaf linden is more heat tolerant and performs better in compacted soil than American lindens.

The little leaf linden has a characteristic feature of forming suckers around the trunck. You may also grow the small leaf linden as a flowering hedge or specimen lawn tree if you prune it properly.

Little leaf linden tree leaves: top surface (left) and underside (right) The small linden leaves turn golden yellow in the fall, making it a lovely landscaping tree. It’s also known as the little-leaved lime tree.

Linden tree blooms: The little leaf linden has aromatic, creamy white to yellow blooms that are small in size. The intriguing leaf-like bracts that cover the fuzzy-looking scented flowers.

Greenspire Linden Tree (Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’)

The Greenspire linden tree is a medium-sized shade tree with a pyramidal crown, dark green heart-shaped leaves, and yellow summer blooms. It is available as Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire.’ Greenspire linden is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant landscape tree that thrives in metropolitan settings.

In USDA zones 3 through 7, greenspire linden trees are excellent back yard shade trees. The magnificent tree thrives in full sun and may eventually reach heights of 50 to 70 feet (15 to 21 meters). Linden trees produce clusters of tiny, colorful blooms throughout the year. Except for the Greenspire linden, it’s the same. In the summer, the Greenspire linden blooms provision a lovely sight, and pollinators are drawn to their powerful fragrance.

This tree has dark green, heart-shaped leaves with serrated borders and a pointed tip. It’s known as the Greenspire little leaf linden. The yellow of the tree is brilliant when it falls.

Large-Leaved Lime Tree (Tilia platyphyllos)

The large-leaved linden or large-leaved lime is a big deciduous tree with round-ovate leaves, creamy-yellow showy flower clusters, and a wide, pyramidal crown. The huge-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos), which grows to be 80 feet (24 meters) tall and 50 feet (15 meters) broad, is a lovely shade tree. The big-leaved linden attracts bees in the summer, as it does with all flowering linden trees.

USDA zones 2 – 6 are ideal for large-leaved lime tree blossoms. The vast, deciduous spreading tree thrives on moist, well-drained earth. This is a perfect tree for landscaping, shade, or as a street tree. Large-leaved linden may also be trained to grow as a tall privacy hedge.

The big-leaved linden is distinguished by its huge leaves, which are seen on both the top (left) and underside (right). Between 2.5 and 3.5 inches (6 and 9 cm) long, green heart-shaped leaves may grow up to 6 inches (15 cm). In the autumn, the dark green linden foliage turn pale yellow.

Silver Linden (Tilia tomentosa)

The silvery underside of the glossy green rounded leaves gives the silver linden tree (Tilia tomentosa) its name. The silver linden grows to be 50 to 70 feet (15 to 21 meters) tall and broad as an attractive medium-sized landscape tree. The crown of the tree is pyramidal due to its spreading habit.

Due to its two-toned green and silver leaves, you can identify the silver linden in landscapes. When the silver-green leaves flutter in the breeze, they have a lustrous appearance. The silver linden’s yellowish-orange blooms, which hang like drooping cymes, are another way to distinguish it.

The smooth, light gray silver linden tree bark When the yellow leaves have fallen to the ground, this feature of the tree adds to the linden tree’s winter appeal. Because of its silvery color, the silver linden tree is also known as silver lime, white lime, and European white lime.

The pointed, triangular-ovate leaves with a dark-green top surface and a silvery-white base are characteristic of silver linden leaves. Along the leaf margins, there is also notable serration.

Weeping Silver Linden (Tilia tomentosa ‘Petiolaris’)

The weeping silver linden (Tilia tomentosa ‘Petiolaris’) is named for its drooping branches. The silver-green leaves, thick foliage, and small canopy of the weeping silver linden set it apart from other trees. The tree has an almost columnar appearance due to its tall stature and weeping growth.

USDA zones 5 – 9 are ideal for the weeping silver linden tree. In full sun, the linden tree flourishes, but it can tolerate some shade. This weeping linden tree variety, also known as the white-leaved lime tree, is one of the most hardy in the Tilia genus. The linden tree’s leaves, which are approximately 4″ (11 cm) long and broad, weep silver. The end of 4- to 8-inch (11 – 20 cm) long petioles hangs large pointed triangular leaves.

Henry’s Lime Tree (Tilia henryana)

The Henry’s lime tree is a slow-growing deciduous tree with heart-shaped leaves and prominent leaf margins, native to the United States. In early to midsummer, flower clusters bloom on the ends of long, drooping cymes. The rounded crown of this linden will help you identify it.

The Henry’s lime tree is a medium-sized lime tree when compared to other species of linden trees. The tree grows between 20 and 30 feet (6 and 9 meters) tall in USDA zones 6 through 9, with full sun.

The linden tree’s leaves grow up to 5″ (12 cm) long and produce Henry’s lime flowers. The fringed margins with long curled teeth are what distinguish the leaves. The huge leaves have sea-green veins and are also green.

Henry’s tree was covered in lime leaves.

Caucasian Linden Tree (Tilia x euchlora)

The elegant Caucasian linden tree has glossy green leaves and spherical pyramidal growth. The tree’s branches get more pendulous as it ages. The Caucasian lime tree has clustered of hairy yellow blooms and serrated leaves, similar to other lindens.

This linden grows between 40 and 60 feet (12 and 18 meters) tall and wide, and is known as the Caucasian Linden Tree (Tilia x euchlora).

The leaves of the linden tree are glossy green with serrated edges, and they come from the Caucasus region. The pale undersides of the leaves, which are slightly fuzzy when immature, are an identifying feature. Up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, Caucasian linden tree leaves.

Glenleven Linden (Tilia flavescens ‘Glenleven’)

A lovely little shade tree with a prominent oval-pyramidal crown, the Glenleven linden tree is a delight. On the smooth gray branches, the large heart-shaped leaves grow densely. The leaves turn a lovely bright golden yellow hue in the autumn, then fall. The Glenleven linden grows to be 50 feet (15 meters) tall and broad.

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