Botany of Lime Tree

The origins of the lime tree stretch back over fifty million years.

The tree’s scientific name, Tilia, is derived from the Greek word for phloem, tilos.  Linnaeus defined the Tilia genus in 1735 in Systema Naturae.

Lime trees (known as linden in parts of Europe and North America, where they are also called basswood) belong to the family of Malvaceae, and the genus Tilia includes thirty-five species of trees. Five of these species grow in Europe, including Tilia Cordata, or small-leaved lime; Tilia Platyphyllos, or large-leaved lime; the common lime; and Tilia Tomentosa, or silver lime.

Autrefois il peuplait beaucoup les forêts apportant avec ses feuilles un humus doux et d’une grande richesse pour les sols.

The lime tree grows straight and tall due to the fact that its topmost branches remain alive. It has a straight, smooth trunk that cracks slightly when the tree reaches maturity at twenty years of age. The crown, depending upon the species, is conical, oval or pyramidal. A wide pyramidal shape is best for a dance lime tree. The lower branches grow horizontally, with more and more ramification in the higher branches. Twigs which grow on either sides of the branches carry heart-shaped leaves.

Lime trees are easily pruned. Depending upon the climate, the trees flower in June or July when they are around seven years old.

The most commonly used species for dance lime trees are Tilia Platyphyllos (large-leaved lime) and Tilia Intermedia or Europea, also known as Dutch lime.

Tilleul à Danser planté à Mazille, France

Leaf of a large-leaf lime tree (the dance lime tree) and
smaller leaf of the common lime tree.
Content and conception graphic : Pierre Albuisson    Presentation of content and Web désign :  Elena Krotova   Translation : Marcia Hadjimarkos