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TILIA cordata

Image of Tilia cordata

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Tiliaceae

Botanical Name

TILIA cordata

Plant Common Name

Heartleaf Linden, Littleleaf Linden

General Description

Elegant and stately when seen in a park or lining a boulevard, littleleaf linden is a versatile shade and specimen tree for spacious landscapes. A large deciduous tree from Europe and the Caucasus where it is celebrated, it becomes an upright tree with a broad pyramind-like stature. The bark is grayish brown and is ridged and furrowed; its branching is dense and upward reaching.

The dark green leaves are wide ovals that taper to a point. Glossy, the leaf edges are lined in tiny teeth. There are tufts of tiny brown hairs in the leaf axils (area between the leaf stalk and the twig). In midsummer, pendent clusters of fragrant pale yellow flowers occur, attracting nectar-seeking bees in profusion. The pea-sized, whitish tan fruits (nutlets) dangle downward with a finger-like bract (modified leaf) and are showiest in late summer. In fall the foliage becomes a subdued mix of yellows and yellow-green.

Grow littleleaf linden in full to partial sun in a fertile, deep, moist soil that ideally is neutral to alkaline in pH. This species is tolerant of acidy soils as well as air pollution and drought once established. Planted in rows it creates an imposing allée or windbreak and can handle sheering well to become a wall-like hedgerow. It is equally impressive as a parkland specimen when its lowest branches remain and creates a massive gumdrop-shaped effect atop a lawn. Japanese beetles have been known to defoliage this tree.

Several quality cultivars are available of this beautiful tree. Vigorous and cone-shaped is the popular for average home yards is 'Greenspire'. It also is revered for its tolerance of tough urban conditions to bring beautiful shade. Dwarf selections with tight, rounded canopies include 'Lico' and 'Green Globe'. Two trademarked cultivars that are slightly smaller growing and promoted as better choices as neighborhood street trees are 'Corzam' (Corinthian®) and 'Chancole' (Chancellor®).

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    50'-80' / 15.2m - 24.4m

  • Width

    30'-45' / 9.1m - 13.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Pyramidal

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Gray Green, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No