- Name also: Small-leaved Linden, Little-leaf Linden
- Family: Mallow Family – Malvaceae
(formerly Lime Tree Family – Tiliaceae)
- Growing form and height: Tree. 15–30 m (50–100 ft.).
- Flower: Regular (actinomorphic). Sepals 5. Petals 5, yellowish-white, strong-scented. Stamens numerous. Carpels 5, fused. Inflorescence a 4–15-flowered axillary corymb, subtended by a large pale coloured bract.
- Leaves: Alternate. Stalked, hairless except for tufts of brown hair in vein axils on leaf underside. Blade heart-shaped (cordate), with an abruptly tapered longish tip and unequal-sided base, bluish-green beneath. Blade-margins saw-like.
- Buds: Non-cymmetrically egg-shaped, large, chubby, red–green.
- Fruit: Globose one-seeded nut-like.
- Habitat: Damp and lush woods, dryish broadleaf woods, lush streamsides. Also an ornamental.
- Flowering time: July.
- Endangerment: Protected in the Åland Islands.
The genus Tilia comprises some 30 species most of which are native in the temperate zones of the Northern hemisphere. In Europe, there are five native Tilia species. In Finland, small-leaved lime is the northernmost and most common of these so called ‘noble broadleaves’ i.e. temperate broadleaf trees.
Small-leaved lime can be distinguished from common lime (Tilia x europaea), a frequently grown park tree, by its straight and smooth trunk. The trunk of common lime is usually very knobby. Furthermore, the leaf of common lime is pale green beneath whereas that of small-leaved lime is bluish-green.
The bast obtained from the trunk of small-leaved lime was earlier a valuable article of commerce. It was used for making ropes, rugs etc. Because the wood is soft it is a very suitable for making furniture and in other light woodwork. Small-leaved lime is a good nectar plant for bees. Flowers can be used for making a soothing, fragrant, and tasty tea.
Common Lime (Common Linden)
Tilia x europaea (Tilia x vulgaris)
Common lime is a hybrid between large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos) and small-leaved lime. It occurs only rarely in the wild. Easiest to tell apart from small-leaved lime is to compare trunks of these two trees. Common lime’s trunk has burrs and lot of brushwood.