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Lime Tree flower
Tilia cordata (Tiliaceae)
Habitat and appearance: As a European native it is very ancient as a ‘tea-making’ tree (using the blossom). It is a deciduous tree, occasionally a shrub, reaching 20-40m high, and its trunk is straight and powerful. The leaves are orbicular and serrate while the tea blossom is yellowish-white in mostly pendulous cymes of 5 to 10 flowers, which appear from mid to late summer. In the autumn, globose fruits are produced, each having two helicopter-wing-like leaflets to help flight for propagation purposes.
Garden suitability: This makes a lovely garden tree but it does need quite a lot of space and its height would shade a small garden. It enjoys sandy or stony soils; interestingly it is often used as a street tree, even with its offensive, dripping, and sticky secretions in spring, caused by a burrowing bug. For this reason also it is best planted well away from the house, patio or car!