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Lime Tree

Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

There a few different members of the Lime growing in the UK, it can be hard to differentiate between them as they readily hybridise with each other.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Lime Tree, Linden Tree
Scientific Name Tilia sp
Season Start Mar
Season End Aug
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Round or heart shaped green leaves. The lighter almost translucent young leaves being the edible part.

Flowers

This consists of a leaf bract with some small yellow and white flowers which will turn into ‘berries’ hanging underneath the bract. Limes generally blossom in June and July.

Trunk

Younger trees have quite a smooth grey bark which can become craggy and gnarled. Suckers or shoots grow from around the base and higher up the trunk on many specimens and can aid identification from afar.

Habitat

Along tree lined streets, parks and mixed woodland.

Possible Confusion

It is difficult to confuse Lime trees for any other. They can usually be spotted from afar due to the large amount of  ‘suckers’ around the base of the trunk.

Smell

The fresh flowers have a sweet honey like aroma.

Taste

The leaves when young have a succulent almost sweet flavour which is greatly enhanced once the leaf is covered in honey dew from aphids.

Frequency

Common.

Collecting

The young, translucent leaves are best for salads and the fruit, including the leaf bract, are best dried and made into Linden tea or Tilluel.

Medicinal Uses

Lime tea is thought to have properties which will prevent the hardening of arteries and lower high blood pressure.

Other Facts

Aphids love Limes and suck the sap turning it into honeydew, ants farm the aphids for this sweet treat. The leaves, when covered in honeydew, are a particularly sweet treat if you can get over the fact that the honeydew is aphid ‘poo’!
The bark used to be used to make rope and the wood is still used today in furniture making as it does not warp.

COMMENTS

12 comments for Lime Tree

  1. Steve says:

    A friend of mine has a lime tree in his back garden, which was planted by the house builders a good number of years ago. It is now 30ft high and about 12ft from the neighbouring property. He is concerned about branches breaking off and causing damage, and is now considering chopping it down, because he has been told it is inappropriate for that type of tree in a back garden. Advice please

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Steve, I don’t like removing trees unless they are unsafe. The lime should be ok in a garden and they are not particularly prone to dropping branches more than any other tree, its the roots that can be a concern to properties. Unless it has a protection order on it, other than chaining yourself to the tree I’m afraid I can’t help.

  2. Louise says:

    wow, great information sadly Australia does, not seem to have salad trees like this 🙁 What linden is best for high blood pressure? I found little life linden in a nursery will that be good for tea?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If the scientific name for the tree is Tilia cordata then it is what we call the small leaved lime and is edible and good for teas and salads.

  3. Ben says:

    I am hoping to come across a lime tree this year, to make a tea from the flowers. Has anyone tried it and if so what is it like?

  4. Sheila Christina Carey says:

    If I send a photo, can someone tell me whether I have a lime tree?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If you can send photos of the whole tree and close ups of some leaves I’ll try to ID it for you.

  5. Joshua Cunliffe says:

    These trees are everywhere and have changed my life. I actualy prefer these to lettuce and the make fantastic wraps for Rizzoto and soft rice vine leavs.

  6. Jas says:

    I would like to more about tea drinking , do I have to dry the leaves and flower first to make tea with it. I only discovered this today: Your advice will be helpful.
    Any other way I can use this would be great.
    Jas

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      The leaves are edible when young and slightly translucent and can be used in salads or tea although I’m not sure they would flavour the tea very strongly, the flowers can be used in a tea fresh or dried and have a honey like taste and only require sweetening to your own personal taste.

  7. Harsha Brown says:

    Our lime tree is huge and dropping all sorts of sticky stuff all over the garden.
    anyway what can we plant under the lime tree?.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Mature trees should not have their roots damaged or extra earth added on top but some hardy plants may be ok as long as you are careful of root damage. Ferns, hostas, lily of the valley, lungwort, wood poppy and columbines seem to cope under Lime/Linden trees. The sticky sap is ‘honey dew’ excreted by aphids. It sounds horrible but is almost pure sugar although there is not really a way to harvest it.

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