Trees And Shrubs

Large-leaved Lime Tilia platyphyllos

Tiliaceae

The large-leaved lime is closely related to the small-leaved lime, and has a similar range of distribution. However, its northern boundary does not extend to the Baltic Sea, and, in the east, it occurs only as far as the western Ukraine. It is most plentiful in hilly country and foothills at elevations of 400 to 700 metres, though the occasional, single tree may be found up to 1000 metres above sea level. It occurs in broad-leaved woods and requires richer and moistcr soil than the small-leaved lime.

The large-leaved lime grows to a greater height and attains greater dimensions than its relative. Specimens as much as 30 to 33 metres high are not unknown; very old, solitary trees have trunks up to 3 to 4 metres thick. It is said that the large-leaved lime may live longer than a thousand years. For this reason, it is popularly planted on hilltops, or beside isolated homesteads, monuments, or churches, and in parks and avenues. The large-leaved lime flowers some 10 to 14 days sooner than the small-leaved lime, and mixed plantings of the two species prolong the period for bee-feeding to a full month. The main characteristics that make it easy to distinguish the one from the other are the underside of the leaf, the period of flowering and the shape of the fruit. In the wild they frequently hybridize to produce the hybrid Tilia curopaea L. {intermedia DC), which blends the characters of both parents.

Leaves: Cordate, 6—12 cm long, pointed and sharply toothed, paler green below with white hairs in the axils of the veins. Fruit: An ovoid capsule measuring 8 mm, with 4—5 ribs, slightly tomentose; 2—4 nuts in a cluster, attached to the floral bract which dries and acts as a wing for seed dispersal.

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