Meet 10 Species of Linden Trees

Tilia Genus

Background from young leaves of a linden
TatianaMironenko / Getty Images
  • 01 of 11

    The Linden Tree: Foliage and Food

    Linden trees feature heart-shaped leaves.
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    Linden trees fall within the Tilia genus and are part of the Tilioideae (or Tiliaceae) subfamily. This same family also includes trees and shrubs like the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), phalsa (Grewia subinaequalis), durian (Durio zibethinus), and the Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius).

    Linden trees have heart-shaped leaves, similar to Aspen trees, that sometimes look lopsided when one side of the heart shape forms bigger than the other. Long bracts form above clusters of small round fruit that produce a drupe. The linden tree's flowers—a favorite of bees—make their showing from May to July. Some beekeepers cultivate lindens specifically to boost honey production. You can eat the tree's leaves and tea can be made from its flowers.

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  • 02 of 11

    Basswood

    Honey Bee pollinating and collecting nectar on a Linden tree blossom
    Jeremy Christensen / Getty Images

    The Basswood variety of the linden tree offers a great yard addition for those looking to cultivate shade. This fast-grower can sometimes grow as much as 24 inches a year and needs plenty of space to flourish. Known for its lightweight, softwood, basswood was used in Native Americans' carvings. The bark was also collected and made into fiber for weaving ropes, baskets, and other objects.

    • Latin Name: Tilia americana
    • Other Common Names: White basswood, American linden, whitewood, bee tree
    • Native Habitat: Eastern North America
    • USDA Hardiness Zones2 through 8
    • Height at Maturity: 40 to 100 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 03 of 11

    Carolina Basswood

    Carolina Basswood

    Another favorite of pollinators, the Carolina basswood grows in temperate climates and produces fragrant white flowers that hang in clusters. This gray-barked variety is native to Texas and has been grown and harvested for use in interior woodwork. The fruit of this tree is eaten by small mammals, and as the wood decays, it produces cavities used for nesting birds like wood ducks and woodpeckers. 

    • Latin Name: Tilia caroliniana
    • Common Names: Florida basswood, Carolina linden, Florida linden, bee tree
    • Native Habitat: Southern North America
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 through 9
    • Height at Maturity: 40 to over 100 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 04 of 11

    Common Linden

    Tilia Europaea
    tanukiphoto / Getty Images

    The common linden (or American linen) is often used as a streetside shade tree. However, if not properly pruned, it can become an overgrown mass or clump of small trees, rather that impressive singleton. This hybrid variety results from crossing the large-leaved lime (Tilia platyphyllos) and little leaf linden (Tilia cordata). 

    • Latin Name: Tilia × europaea
    • Common Names: Common lime, European linden
    • Native Habitat: Europe
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 through 7
    • Height at Maturity: 50 to 90 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 05 of 11

    Crimean Linden

    crimean linden
    Salvor / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    While botanists are unsure of the parentage of this hybrid, most attribute it to a cross between the Tilia cordata and Tilia dasystyla. The Crimean linden (or Caucasian lime tree) has a short lifespan of about 20 years, however, it is not susceptible to problems caused by diseases or pests. Because of its short lifespan, this is a great tree for use in planter boxes or pots where it makes an impressive statement

    • Latin Name: Tilia x euchlora
    • Common Names: Caucasian linden, Caucasian lime
    • Native Habitat: Hybrid of European species
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 through 8
    • Height at Maturity: 40 to 60 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 06 of 11

    Henry's Lime

    Tilia henryana (Henry's lime), berries and leaves on branch, close-up
    Brian North / Getty Images

    Augustine Henry, a plantsman from Ireland, first discovered this species of linden tree and is the inspiration for its common name. Henry's lime grows more slowly than other lindens and may reach only 10 feet tall in 10 years. This tree bears large, sea-green leaves with serrated edges and a silvery backside, and fragrant flowers form in clusters.

    • Latin Name: Tilia henryana
    • Common Names: Henry's linden, toothed Chinese linden
    • Native Habitat: China
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: Hardy to Zone 7
    • Height at Maturity: Up to 50 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 07 of 11

    Large-Leaved Lime

    Large-leafed Lime (Tilia platyphyllos) close-up of flowers and leaves
    FLPA/Bob Gibbons / Getty Images

    The leaves on this large-leaved linden can grow up to five feet long, giving it its ample name.  The tree itself is shaped like a dome and is taller than other lindens, with a moderate growth rate. This tree can be confused with the common lime tree grown in parks. However, common lime has a bumpy trunk, whereas large-leaved lime's trunk is smooth.

    • Latin Name: Tilia platyphyllos
    • Common Names: Large-leaved lime, largeleaf linden, broad-leaved lime
    • Native Habitat: Europe
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 through 7
    • Height at Maturity: 60 to 80 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 08 of 11

    Little Leaf Linden

    Colourful autumn leaves small-leafed lime tree
    Whiteway / Getty Images

    As you might guess, and similar to large-leafed linden, little leaf linden's common name directly correlates to its leaf size, which is much smaller than other linden species. Its plethora of cultivars includes Baileyi, Bicentennial, Burnt Orange, and Greenspire, all of which are used in backyard landscaping to create garden hedges.

    • Latin Name: Tilia cordata
    • Common Names: Small-leaved lime, little leaf linden
    • Native Habitat: Western Asia and Europe
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 through 7
    • Height at Maturity: 50 to 80 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun or light shade
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  • 09 of 11

    Silver Linden

    silver linden
    Agenturfotograf / Getty Images

    As the name suggests, the leaves on this tree appear to shimmer due to the little white hairs on their backside that look silver and turn yellow in the fall. This tree shines as a streetside city tree and has a sturdy constitution that can handle air pollution. 

    • Latin Name: Tilia tomentosa
    • Common Name: Silver lime
    • Native Habitat: Europe and Asia
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 through 7
    • Height at Maturity: 40 to 70 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 10 of 11

    White Basswood

    White basswood, Tilia heterophylla, growing at the Missouri Botanical Garden. According to the adjacent sign, this specimen is a State Champion, i.e., the largest tree of its species in the state of Missouri.
    James Steakley / Wikimedia Commons

    This subspecies of basswood has similar leaf hairs to the silver linden tree, only the white basswood's leaves appear to be white instead of silver. The creamy yellow flowers hang in clusters and this tree grows wild in the mountains of North Carolina.

    • Latin Name: Tilia heterophylla
    • Common Names: White linden, silver-leaved linden, bee tree, mountain basswood
    • Native Habitat: Eastern United States
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 through 7
    • Height at Maturity: 50 to 80 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 11 of 11

    Weeping Silver Linden

    Weeping silver lime or Pendant Silver Linden.
    Jean-Pol GRANDMONT / Wikimedia Commons

    The branches of this species of linden droop towards the ground, hence its name. The weeping silver linden is among the tallest of all the lindens and is capable of reaching 100 feet. The underside of the leaves are white and the tree can appear silvery when the wind caresses its leaves.

    • Latin Name: Tilia petiolaris
    • Common Names: Pendant silver linden, weeping silver lime, pendant white lime
    • Native Habitat: Europe & Asia
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 through 9
    • Height at Maturity: 50 to 100 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade