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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tilia tomentosa - Silver Linden

The Silver Linden is a large deciduous tree with multiple upright leaders reaching 50' or more with a spread of 30' with an oval outline. Pretty attractive when young as it forms a columnar tight habit. Rarely seen in our area but common in the northern states. There are several variations of this species, one of which is T. x petiolaris (seen below) and called weeping silver linden and a hybrid of the silver linden and some other linden.

 This is a cultivar called 'Sterling'.

The deciduous leaves are alternate, simple, broadly ovate to about 4" long, with serrated margins and a slightly acuminate tip. Leaf base is unequal like other lindens. Dark green upper surface and white hairs on the lower surface.

Stems slightly covered with white hairs as well. Linden buds all look the same with one bud scale larger than the others, looking something like a boxing glove.

Flowers are fragrant, borne in the summer on long leaf like bracts, yellowish green in clusters of 3-7 flowers.  Attract tons of bees. Some confusion exists about its toxicity to bees which can be found in large numbers on the ground below the trees at flowering time. The nectar is to blame. 

Fruit is a dry little nutlet, about 3/8" long and ribbed.

Fall color is a beautiful bright yellow.

Thanks to Leslie Keedy, Santa Cruz City Arborist for pointing this tree out to me.

From a distance you might see the silver from the bottom of the foliage and think its a silver poplar??

Santa Cruz
731 Highland Ave (on the Ross side of the house)

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