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Tilia platyphyllos is often confused with:
Tilia cordata Tilia cordata
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Tilia tomentosa Tilia tomentosa
Liriodendron tulipifera Liriodendron tulipifera
Tilia americana Tilia americana

Broad-leaved Lime Tilia platyphyllos

Previously known as:

  • Tilia platyptera
  • Tilia pubescens
Phonetic Spelling
TIL-ee-uh plat-TY-fil-los
Description

The Bigleaf Linden is a large ornamental deciduous broadleaf tree that is a member of the Malvaceae family. It is known for its big leaves, and it tends to have hairy stems and leaves. The tree typically grows 60 to 80 feet tall and 30-50 feet wide with a dense pyramidal form. Other common names include Large Leaved Linden, Large Leaved Lime, Largeleaf Linden, and Broad-leaved Lime.

The Bigleaf Linden is native of central, southern Europe, and southwestern Asia. The tree has a smaller range than the Small Leaf Linden and is found in lowlands and lower hills. In the past, wood was used to make bows and shields. The bark was used for rope and clothing. The wood is also favored for woodcarvings, including musical instruments, clogs, and cuckoo clocks. The honey of the flowers is used for making 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" or perhaps "broadleaved." The species name, platyphyllos, is the combination of two Greek words. Playts means "broad," and phyllon means "leaf." The Bigleaf Linden is one of the parents of the hybrid, Tilia x europea, which is used frequently as a street tree.

The tree prefers full sun to partial shade as well as alkaline, loamy, well-drained soils. It has a good drought and salt spray tolerance. It is also very tolerant of heavy pruning and may be grown as a hedge.

There is very limited information about the propagation of this species. Reportedly, young shoots may be transplanted. Propagation by seeds may be challenging.

The leaves are green, heart-shaped, hairy, serrated, and up to 5 inches long. The undersides of the leaves are a lighter green, and the veins have tufts of white hair. The fall foliage is yellow. The fragrant flowers are pale yellow and form cymes about 3-4 inches long. The fruit is a gray nutlet. The stems are usually reddish-brown and hairy.

The nectar of the showy flowers attracts butterflies, bees, wasps, moths, and flies. 

The Bigleaf Linden is frequently found in parks and gardens. It is used for shade, lawn, or as a street tree. They have been many cultivated forms, but it has few commercially available.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves upper surface medium to dark green and undersides light green with tufts of white hairs along the veins
  • Leaves cordate with pointed tips, and about 5 inches long
  • Creamy yellow flowers arranged in clusters
  • Fruit small gray, oval, ribbed nutlet
  • Young bark gray smooth and older bark fissured

Diseases, Insects, and Other Problems:

There are no serious pests or disease issues. Borers, scale, leaf miner, lace bugs, caterpillars, aphids, and Japanese Beetles may be seen. Spider mites may occur in extremely hot and dry periods. Diseases such as powdery mildew, leaf spots, sooty mold, and canker can occur. Verticillium wilt does not occur frequently but can be fatal.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pendula'
    Spreading branches and hanging branchlets
  • 'Rubra'
    Reddish twigs in the winter
'Pendula', 'Rubra'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#shade tree#fragrant flowers#yellow flowers#fall interest#salt spray tolerant#hairy leaves#hairy stems#urban conditions tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#bee friendly#nutlet
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pendula'
    Spreading branches and hanging branchlets
  • 'Rubra'
    Reddish twigs in the winter
'Pendula', 'Rubra'
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#shade tree#fragrant flowers#yellow flowers#fall interest#salt spray tolerant#hairy leaves#hairy stems#urban conditions tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#bee friendly#nutlet
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tilia
    Species:
    platyphyllos
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The tree is used as ornamental, timber, and wood-carving. The wood is favored for making musical instruments, clogs, and cuckoo clocks. The honey of the flowers has been used for making tea.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and southern Europe to southwest Asia
    Distribution:
    Native: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Corsica, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungry, Iran, Italy, North Caucasus, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Transcaucasus, Turkey, and Yugoslavia; Introduced: Great Britain and Ireland
    Wildlife Value:
    Nectar-rich flowers attract bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, and flies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Shade
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy pruning, drought and salt spray tolerant.
    Edibility:
    In Europe, the flowers are used to make tea, which reportedly has a calming effect. Young leaves may be eaten as a salad.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Pyramidal
    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:
    more than 60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • 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 small gray, oval, ribbed nutlet that ripens in late summer. Each nutlet contains one to three seeds.
  • 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 creamy-yellow or pale yellow that bloom in June. The flowers form drooping cymes, and each cyme measures 3-4 inches long. The flowers have five sepals and five petals. There are numerous stamens, but only a single hairless style. The flowers are rich in nectar, fragrant, and showy.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are medium to dark green on the upper surface. The undersides are light green and pubescent. Each leaf is about five inches long, alternate, and simple in shape. The base of the leaf is cordate with has pointed tips. The fall color is pale green to pale yellow.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray and smooth. As the tree ages, the bark becomes fissured.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The branches are reddish-brown and usually hairy. The buds are reddish-brown, pointed, and protrude.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Urban Conditions