Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Tilia Cordata

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
Tilia cordata (26/05/2011, Prague)

Tilia cordata (26/05/2011, Prague)

Soil: Moist and well drained.

Flowering period: Mid summer.

Eventual Height: 30m

Eventual Spread: 12m

Hardiness: USDA Zone 4a-8b

Family: Malvaceae

Tilia chordata is a deciduous tree with a spreading habit. Its foliage is rounded, chordate, glossy and dark green with serrate margins and are distinctively heart shaped. In early summer it bears small yellowish white hermaphrodite flowers in clusters of five to eleven with a leafy yellow green bract. The flowers have quite a heavy scent which are very attractive to bees. In autumn, following the flowers a dry drupes are formed. This tree is one of the UK’s oldest native trees.

Tilia cordata flower (26/05/2011, Prague)

Tilia cordata flower (26/05/2011, Prague)

The flowers of T. chordata, commonly known as the Small-leaved Lime Lime tree, have been traditionally been used in traditional medicine in central Europe as an anti-inflammatory. It is also of use in creating a popular monofloral honey and the leaves have even been used in salads. This tree is the national tree of the Czech Republic and the Republic of Slovakia.

Tilia is the ancient Latin name for the Lime tree, with chordata being  in reference to the chordate shape of the leaves.


Tillia cordata Line (26/05/2011, Prague)

Tillia cordata Line (26/05/2011, Prague)

The Landscape architect may find this tree useful as an excellent specimen tree. This tree has traditionally been planted in regular lines and avenues and is very suited to this purpose. T. chordata ‘Greenspire’ and T. chordata ‘Streetwise’ . This tree can be succefully pleached providing an unusual architectural living form.

Tillia cordata (17/04/2006, London)

Tillia cordata (17/04/2006, London)

This plant will tolerate many soil conditions; it will be happy in neutral or alkaline pH levels, in clay, sand or chalk but will require a sheltered location.

Ecologically this plant will attract many pollinating insects such as honey bees.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given it their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Maintenance: Little maintenance required. Dead or damaged material should be removed in spring.

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