Meet 10 Species of Linden Trees

Tilia Genus

Background from young leaves of a linden
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  • 01 of 11

    The Linden Is Within the Tilia Genus

    Linden trees feature heart-shaped leaves.
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    Linden trees fall within the Tilia genus, which is part of the Tilioideae subfamily in the Malvaceae (mallow) family. You might also sometimes see this listed as Tiliaceae. In this family, you will also find trees and shrubs like the rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), phalsa (Grewia subinaequalis), durian (Durio spp.), and Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius.)

    The main characteristic to help identify linden trees is that they all feature leaves that are heart-shaped (cordate). Some are lopsided with one side that is bigger than the other.

    You can also look for the long bracts that are above clusters of the small round fruits. The flowers appear from May to July. The fruit produced is a drupe.

    The flowers are a favorite of bees, and some beekeepers cultivate lindens for honey production. You can eat the leaves, and tea can be made from the flowers.

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  • 02 of 11


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

    If you need a fast-growing tree so that you can have shade sooner, the Basswood is one species with that trait. A popular use for the wood of the basswood tree is carving. The wood is lightweight and soft. You can also make ropes and weave objects if you harvest some of the inner bark.

    • Latin Name: Tilia americana
    • Other Common Names: White basswood, American linden, whitewood, beetree linden, bee-tree
    • Native to: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 2-8
    • Height: 40-100' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 03 of 11

    Carolina Basswood

    Carolina basswood has gray bark and fragrant white flowers that hang in clusters. Some classify this as a variety of basswood and write the Latin name as  Tilia americana var. caroliniana. Other possible Latin names include  Tilia leucocarpaTilia floridanaTilia leptophylla and  Tilia georgiana.

    • Latin Name: Tilia caroliniana
    • Other Common Names: Florida basswood, Carolina linden, Florida linden, beetree
    • Native to: North America
    • USDA Zones: 7-9
    • Height: 40-100'+ tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
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  • 04 of 11

    Common Linden

    Tilia Europaea
    tanukiphoto / Getty Images

    The common Linden is often used as a street and shade tree. This hybrid is a result of the cross between the large-leaved lime ( Tilia platyphyllos or Tilia dasystyla subsp. caucasica) and little leaf linden (Tilia cordata). The Latin name may also be listed as Tilia x vulgarisTilia intermedia or Tilia officinarum

    • Latin Name: Tilia × europaea
    • Other Common Names: Common lime, European linden
    • Native to: Europe
    • USDA Zones: 3-7
    • Height: Usually around 50-90' 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 not positive about the parentage of this hybrid, most think it is likely little leaf linden (Tilia cordata) and Tilia dasystyla. It usually does not face many problems from diseases or pests.

    • Latin Name: Tilia x euchlora
    • Other Common Names: Caucasian linden, Caucasian lime
    • Native to: Hybrid of European species
    • USDA Zones: 3-8
    • Height: 40-60' 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, was the first to discover this species and was the inspiration for its common names. Henry's Lime grows more slowly than some other Lindens and may reach only 10 feet in 10 years.

    • Latin Name: Tilia henryana
    • Other Common Names: Henry's linden, toothed Chinese linden
    • Native to: China
    • USDA Zones: Hardy to Zone 7
    • Height: Up to 50' 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 linden can be up to 5" long. This length is hinted by the species name, which means broad-leaved and is in comparison to the little leaf linden. The large-leaved lime is shaped like a dome and is taller than some other lindens with a moderate growth rate.

    • Latin Name: Tilia platyphyllos
    • Other Common Names: Large-leaved lime, largeleaf linden, broad-leaved lime
    • Native to: Europe
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: 60-80' 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 be able to guess from the common name, this tree has smaller leaves than other linden species. Cultivars include 'Baileyi', 'Bicentennial', 'Burnt Orange' and 'Greenspire'. You can use it to create a hedge in your garden.

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

    Silver Linden

    silver linden
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    As the species name suggests, the leaves on this tree appear to shimmer because of the white hairs that look silver on the back and turn yellow in the fall. It works well as a street tree and has a sturdy constitution that can handle air pollution. 

    • Latin Name: Tilia tomentosa
    • Other Common Names: Silver lime
    • Native to: Europe & Asia
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: 40-70' 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

    Some have this as a subspecies of the basswood, specifying it as Tilia americana var. heterophylla. Similarly to the silver linden, hairs on the backs of the leaves make them look white.

    • Latin Name: Tilia heterophylla
    • Other Common Names: Beetree linden, white linden, silver-leaved linden, bee tree, mountain basswood
    • Native to: Eastern United States
    • USDA Zones: 3-7
    • Height: 50-80' 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 will droop towards the ground. You may see this as Tilia 'Petiolaris' or Tilia tomentosa 'Petiolaris'. It is among the tallest of the lindens, capable of reaching 100 feet. The underside of the leaves are white and the tree can appear silvery if the wind moves the leaves.

    • Latin Name: Tilia petiolaris
    • Other Common Names: Pendant silver linden, weeping silver lime, pendant white lime
    • Native to: Europe & Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5-9
    • Height: 50-100' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade