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Tilia mongolica is often confused with:
Tilia cordata Tilia cordata
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Tilia cordata Tilia cordata
Ulmus alata Ulmus alata
Betula grossa Betula grossa close up

Mongolian Linden Tilia mongolica

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
TIL-ee-uh mon-GOL-ik-uh
Description

The Mongolian Linden is a medium-size ornamental deciduous broadleaf tree and a member of the Malvaceae family or Lindens. The tree is the smallest species in the Linden family, and it may reach a height of 30 feet and 25 feet wide. The tree grows slower than other Lindens, and it has a unique exfoliating bark and has slightly smaller, three to five-lobed leaves.  It is pyramidal to rounded in shape. Commercially, the Mongolian Linden may be hard to find in nurseries. Another common name is Mongolian Lime. A cultivar, known as 'Harvest Gold,' is the hybrid of the Mongolian Linden and the Littleleafed Linden. Its leaves appear to be more like the Littleleaf Linden.

The Mongolian Linden is native to North China and far eastern Russia. The wood of the tree is soft and creamy and is much preferred by woodcarvers to make piano soundboards or certain parts of a guitar. Young leaves and shoots are edible, and the flowers may be dried and used to make tea.

The genus name, tilia, is Latin for Linden or Lime Tree. It is derived from the Greek word ptelea or "Elm tree" and tillai or "Black Poplar." The translation means "broad." The species name, mongolica, refers to its origin.

The tree prefers full sun to part shade as well as alkaline, loamy, or well-drained soils. Unlike other Lindens, it is not drought or salt-spray tolerant. The tree, however, does transplant well. This species has fewer problems with the infestation of aphids. 

Propagation by seed may be challenging. Stored seeds tend to be slower to germinate. Reportedly, it is best to obtain fresh seeds and place them in a cold frame. It may take the seeds up to 18 months to germinate. Layering is best done in the spring. Suckers or young shoots may be removed with as much root as possible and replanted.

The leaves are ovate, simple, and dark green with paler undersides. The leaves are three to five-lobed, which is not typical of other Lindens. The flowers form in the summer. They are fragrant creamy yellow dangling clusters. The fruit is a grayish hairy nutlet. 

The nectar of the flowers attracts butterflies and other insects.

The Mongolian Linden is hardy to Zone 3 to 5. Recommended plant sites include residential areas, parks, and city streets. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves dark green with paler undersides
  • Leaves ovate, 3-5 lobed with serrated margins, and 2-3 inches in length and width
  • Pale yellow blossoms, 6-12 blossoms hanging clusters
  • Fruit small grayish, leathery, hairy nutlet
  • Bark light gray and exfoliating

Diseases, Insects, and Other Problems:

Verticillium wilt may occur. Japanese beetles and the linden borer are insects that may be problematic. This species shows resistance to aphids.

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Harvest Gold'
    Medium size, intermediate growth rate, yellow flowers
'Harvest Gold'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#flowering tree#exfoliating bark#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#ornamental tree#fall leaf color#creamy colored flower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Harvest Gold'
    Medium size, intermediate growth rate, yellow flowers
'Harvest Gold'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#flowering tree#exfoliating bark#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#ornamental tree#fall leaf color#creamy colored flower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tilia
    Species:
    mongolica
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The inner bark's fiber is used to make mats, shoes, and coarse cloth. The wood may be used to make broom handles and piano-sounding boards.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North China and far eastern Russia
    Distribution:
    Native: China North Central, China Southeast, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers attract bees and other insects.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Fragrance
    Shade
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This tree shows resistance to aphids.
    Edibility:
    The young leaves and shoots may be eaten raw or cooked. Tea is made from flowers.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a grayish nutlet. It is obovoid, leathery, hairy, and is 6-8 mm in size. The nutlet has a long strap-like bract.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are fragrant pale yellow to creamy colored blossoms that hang in clusters. There are 6-12 flowers per cluster. The clusters hang from a long strapped bract. The ovary is hairy, and the style is glabrous.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple, ovate, and 3-5 lobed with serrated margins. The leaf color is dark green in the summer with paler undersides. The fall color is mild yellow. The leaves measure 2-3 inches in length and width.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    The bark is grayish and irregularly exfoliates.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are glabrous, and the winter buds are hairless.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators