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Common Lime (Tilia x Europaea) Identification

COMMON LIME / SPRING / SUMMER / AUTUMN / EDIBLE

COMMON NAMES

Common lime, European Lime, Linden.


BOTANICAL NAME

Tilia x Europaea


SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Malvales

Family – Malvaceae

Genus – Tilia


PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS For Lime Trees


Stems/Bark

Young trees have grey/brown smooth bark which becomes more gnarled over time. Suckers or side shoots are common around the base of the trunk.


Leaves

The leaves are heart shaped and asymmetrical. The younger translucent one’s are better to eat.

AnRo0002, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Flowers

Small yellow/white flowers which hang from a leaf bract. They have a sweet, honey like scent.

Richard Avery, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Seeds/Fruits

The flowers develop into hard, round, brown seeds.

Rasbak, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


KNOWN HAZARDS

None known.


COULD BE CONFUSED WITH 

There are a few lime species growing in the UK and it can be hard to differentiate them as they readily hybridise with each other, but they are all safe to eat.


RANGE AND DISTRIBUTION

Very common, native to the UK and Europe.


HABITAT

Lime is commonly found on tree lined streets, parks and mixed woodlands.


EDIBLE USES

The young, almost translucent leaves are the best for eating, they make a nice addition to a salad.

The fruit including the leaf bract are best dried and used for Linden tea.

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