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White Lime Tilia tomentosa

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Tilia alba
  • Tilia argentea
Phonetic Spelling
TIL-ee-uh toh-men-TOH-suh
Description

The Silver Linden is a large deciduous tree that is a member of the Malvaceae family. It is popular as a shade, parkway, street, or specimen tree. It has a broad pyramidal shape with a dense canopy and erect branches. The glossy green foliage with silvery-white undersides is very attractive. Other common names include Silver Lime, European White, and White Lime. Several cultivars are more insect resistant to aphids and Japanese Beetles.

The Silver Linden is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia.

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 "broad-leaved." The species name, tomentosa, means "covered with soft-wooly hairs." This references the leaves undersides. The common names for this genus are Linden and Lime. 

This tree prefers moist, well-drained, loamy soils, and full to partial sun. They tend to be moderately drought, salt, pollution, and heat tolerant. It will require pruning to develop a strong structure. The tree will also require plenty of room to develop.

Propagation of the Silver Linden is by seeding, layering, grafting, or chip-budding on proper rootstock. Water regularly after planting. Sprouts should be removed that appear at the base of the tree.

The Silver Linden grows from 50-70 feet tall and 30-50 feet wide. The leaves are green with silvery undersides, heart-shaped, and serrated. Fragrant creamy-white flowers hanging in clusters appear from June to July. The fruits are small nutlets that ripen in late summer. 

The nectar-rich flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. The fruits do not attract wildlife.

This beautiful ornamental shade tree would add interest to a large lawn, parkway, or urban street.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves upper surface glossy green and undersides fuzzy silvery-white
  • Leaves cordate with pointed tips, up to 4 inches long
  • Creamy white flower clusters with 7-10 flowers per cluster
  • Fruit small grayish-tan nutlet 
  • Young bark is smooth and light gray to silvery and older bark is ridged

Diseases, Insects, and Other Problems:

There are no serious insects or disease problems. Aphids, borer, walnut lace bugs, caterpillar, leaf miner, scale, and mites are potential problems. The aphids secrete a substance that causes dark soot. The Silver Linden is reportedly less susceptible to the Japanese Beetles. Diseases such as anthracnose, leaf blight, canker, leaf spots, powdery mildew, and verticillium wilt may be occasional problems.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Brabant'
    Foliage aphid resistant
  • 'Green Mountain'
    Faster growth, more heat and drought tolerant
  • 'Sterling'
    Good tolerance to heat and drought, some resistance to Japanese Beetles
'Brabant', 'Green Mountain', 'Sterling'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#nectar plant#salt tolerant#winter interest#fall interest#air pollution tolerant#street tree#salt spray tolerant#provides shade#urban conditions tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Brabant'
    Foliage aphid resistant
  • 'Green Mountain'
    Faster growth, more heat and drought tolerant
  • 'Sterling'
    Good tolerance to heat and drought, some resistance to Japanese Beetles
'Brabant', 'Green Mountain', 'Sterling'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#wildlife plant#yellow flowers#nectar plant#salt tolerant#winter interest#fall interest#air pollution tolerant#street tree#salt spray tolerant#provides shade#urban conditions tolerant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tilia
    Species:
    tomentosa
    Family:
    Malvaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Layering
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern Europe and western Asia
    Distribution:
    Native: Albania, Bulgaria, East Agean Island, Greece, Hungry, Lebanon, Romania, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia; Introduced: Austria, Czechoslavakia, Spain, and Uzbekistan
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees ad butterflies are attracted to the nectar-rich flowers,
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Moderately drought, salt, pollution, and heat tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 70 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
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    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:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gray/Silver
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is oval-shaped, tannish-grayish nutlet with long strap-like bracts that appears in late summer. They are less than 0.5 inches in diameter. The fruit is inconspicuous and does not attract wildlife.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The 7-10 creamy-white flowers appear in clusters with long strap-shaped bracts from June to July. They are fragrant and nectar-rich. Typically, they are the last Tilia to flower.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Orbicular
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple, alternate, heart-shaped with pointed tips, and measure up to 4 inches long. They have serrated margins, glossy green on the upper sides, and fuzzy silvery-white underneath. The foliage is a pale yellow in the fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth, light gray to silvery gray, and attractive during the winter. In older trees, the bark is more ridged.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The young shoots are gray and hairy. The twigs are brown and green.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Pollution
    Salt
    Urban Conditions
    Wind