Tilia Europoea

Botanical Name :Tilia Europoea
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Tilioideae
Genus: Tilia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms: Tilia vulgaris. Tilia intermedia. Tilia cordata. Tilia platyphylla. Linden Flowers. Linn Flowers. Common Lime. Flores Tiliae. Tilleul.

Common Names:Lime trees, (they are not closely related to the lime fruit. Other names include linden and basswood) Small Leaved Lime, Littleleaf linden

Habitat: Tilia Europoea is native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere  especially British Isles. It grows in woods on most fertile soils, especially limestone, it is commonly found on wooded limestone cliffs

Description:
Tilia Europoea is a  deciduous tree  reaching typically 20 to 40 metres (66 to 130 ft) tall, with oblique-cordate leaves 6 to 20 centimetres (2 to 8 in) across  and when in bloom perfumes its whole neighbourhood. The leaves are obliquely heart-shaped, dark green above, paler below, from 2 1\2 to 4 inches long and sharply toothed. The  yellowish-white flowers. They have five petals and five sepals. The original five stamens have each developed a cluster, and there is a spoon-shaped false petal opposite each true one.
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The Tilia’s sturdy trunk stands like a pillar and the branches divide and subdivide into numerous ramifications on which the twigs are fine and thick. In summer, these are profusely clothed with large leaves and the result is a dense head of abundant foliage.

In particular, aphids are attracted by the rich supply of sap, and are in turn often “farmed” by ants for the production of the sap which the ants collect for their own use, and the result can often be a dripping of excess sap onto the lower branches and leaves, and anything else below. Cars left under the trees can quickly become coated with a film of the syrup (“honeydew”) thus dropped from higher up. The ant/aphid “farming” process does not appear to cause any serious damage to the trees.

Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pollard, Screen, Specimen, Street tree. Prefers a good moist loamy alkaline to neutral soil but it also succeeds on slightly acid soils. Grows poorly on any very dry or very wet soil. Tolerates considerable exposure. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade. Plants can be transplanted quite easily, even when large, trees up to 60 years old have been moved successfully. Trees are very amenable to coppicing or pollarding. They produce numerous suckers from the base. Suckers are produced but not freely according to another report. This species produces far less suckers than T. platyphyllos or T. x vulgaris. This species grows well in Britain, but it rarely produces viable seed in areas with cool summers. Lime trees tend to hybridise freely if other members of the genus are growing nearby. If growing plants from seed it is important to ensure the seed came from a wild source or from an isolated clump of the single species. Grows best in a woodland situation, young plants tolerate a reasonable level of side shade. Mature trees cast a dense shade. A very valuable bee plant, producing an abundance of nectar. A valuable species for wildlife, there are 31 species of insects associated with this tree. The leaves are very attractive to leaf aphis and these aphis produce an abundance of sweet secretions which drip off the leaves to the ground below and also attract sooty mould fungus. This makes the tree unsuitable for street planting. This species, however, is less likely to become infested with aphis than T. platyphyllos or T. x vulgaris. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features:Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – much of the seed produced in Britain is not viable, cut a few seedcases open to see if there is a seed inside. If possible, obtain fresh seed that is ripe but has not as yet developed a hard seed coat and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may germinate in the following spring though it could take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. It has a hard seed coat, embryo dormancy and a hard coat on the pericarp. All these factors mean that the seed may take up to 8 years to germinate. One way of shortening this time is to stratify the seed for 5 months at high temperatures (10°c at night, up to 30°c by day) and then 5 months cold stratification. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in spring just before the leaves unfurl. Takes 1 – 3 years. Suckers, when formed, can be removed with as much root as possible during the dormant season and replanted immediately

Edible Uses: Linden Tea is much used on the Continent, especially in France, where stocks of dried lime-flowers are kept in most households for making ‘Tilleul.’

Young leaves  make an excellent salad or sandwich filling, they are mild tasting and somewhat mucilaginous. The leaves can be available from spring until early autumn from the young growths at the base of the tree. A very acceptable chocolate substitute can be made from a paste of the ground-up flowers and immature fruit. Trials on marketing the product failed because the paste is very apt to decompose. A popular herb tea is made from the flowers, it has a sweet, fragrant pleasant flavour. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Sap – harvested in the spring, it is sweet and can be used as a drink or concentrated into a syrup

Medicinal Uses:
Most medicinal research has focused on Tilia cordata, although other species are also used medicinally and somewhat interchangeably. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Limeflower tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the Tilia flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants) and volatile oils. The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent.

Linden flowers are used in herbalism for colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), and as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. In the traditional Austrian medicine Tilia sp. flowers have been used internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, fever and flu. New evidence shows that the flowers may be hepatoprotective. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.

Usually, the double-flowered species are used to make perfumes. The leaf buds and young leaves are also edible raw. Tilia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera; see List of Lepidoptera that feed on Tilia.

Lime-flowers are only used in infusion or made into a distilled water as household remedies in indigestion or hysteria, nervous vomiting or palpitation. Prolonged baths prepared with the infused flowers are also good in hysteria.

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In the Pyrenees they are used to soothe the temporary excitement caused by the waters, and M. Rostan has used them with success against spasms. The flowers of several species of Lime are used.

Some doctors prefer the light charcoal of lime wood to that of the poplar in gastric or dyspeptic disturbances, and its powder for burns or sore places.

If the flowers used for making the tisane are too old they may produce symptoms of narcotic intoxication.

Other Uses:
The honey from the flowers is regarded as the best flavoured and the most valuable in the world. It is used exclusively in medicine and in liqueurs.

The wood is useful for small articles not requiring strength or durability, and where ease in working is wanted: it is specially valuable for carving, being white, close-grained, smooth and tractable in working, and admits of the greatest sharpness in minute details. Grinley Gibbons did most of his flower and figure carvings for St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, and Chatsworth in Lime wood.

It is the lightest wood produced by any of the broad-leaved European trees, and is suitable for many other purposes, as it never becomes worm-eaten. On the Continent it is much used for turnery, sounding boards for pianos, in organ manufacture, as the framework of veneers for furniture, for packingcases, and also for artists’ charcoal making and for the fabrication of wood-pulp.

The inner bark or bast when detached from the outer bark in strands or ribands makes excellent fibres and coarse matting, chiefly used by gardeners, being light, but strong and elastic. Fancy baskets are often made of it. In Sweden, the inner bark, separated by maceration so as to form a kind of flax, has been employed to make fishing-nets.

A  fibre from the inner bark is used to make mats, shoes, baskets, ropes etc. It is also suitable for cloth. It is harvested from trunks that are 15 – 30cm in diameter. The fibre can also be used for making paper. The stems are harvested in spring or summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The outer bark is removed from the inner bark by peeling or scraping. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill. The paper is beige in colour. Wood – soft, white, easily carved. It is very suitable for carving domestic items and small non-durable items. A charcoal made from the wood is used for drawing.

The sap, drawn off in the spring, affords a considerable quantity of sugar.

The foliage is eaten by cattle, either fresh or dry. The leaves and shoots are mucilaginous and may be employed in poultices and fomentations.
Known Hazards : If the flowers used for making tea are too old, they may produce symptoms of narcotic intoxication

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

 Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/limtre28.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tilia+cordata

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