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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tilia cordata - Little leaf linden

The linden trees of Northern Europe are really something. Long broad avenues lined with huge specimens hundreds of years old. The are called lime trees in the UK and elsewhere I am sure. They often prune them using a technique called Pleaching. 

So, the little leaf linden is one of 3-4 you might encounter. They are medium to large deciduous trees,  60-70 feet, typically pyramidal in youth becoming a little more rounded with age. Overall a pyramidal tree however there are several cultivars available in the trade so they will likely be different. Lindens all have very distinct leaves and an interesting way of hang their flowers and fruit.

Fall color is exceptional. Especially where it gets cold. Notice the very nicely pyramidal habit.

Leaves are alternate, simple 1.5-3" long mostly cordate shaped. Margins serrated and with a long drawn out tip, (acuminate tip). While not totally unique, the leaf base is unequal making one side of the leaf look larger than the other. 

Look for small tufts of orangish hairs in the axils of the viens on the lower surface of the leaves.

Twigs are smooth, gray green sometimes turning redish in winter. May have glaucous bloom.

Flowers are fragrant, small, yellowish green in clusters of 5-7, subtended by a large leaf like bract. Separate male and female flowers on the same inflorescence.

Fruit is a nutlet in groups of 5-7. Slightly ridged, and still attached to the flower bract. (Small nut-like drupe according to many references.)

Branching pattern is congested resulting form poor pruning in the nursery. But they do have a tendency to develop lots of branches in a short vertical space. They also have a tendency to sucker at the base below the graft union.

Other Lindens maybe.  Smaller leaves than others but not always. Look at the lower surface.

720 Gilroy
304 Escalona (small 2010)

Live Oak
along Capitola Dr from about 17th to 7th, usually two of three trees in the center divider

Santa Cruz
200 block of Mission Blvd close to the Plaza

Parking lot of the Chase Bank on the corner of Water and Ocean.

1416 Broadway, Largest by far.

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