Silver or White Lime Tilia tomentosa


The silver lime is a native of south-eastern Europe, where it occurs in the Balkan Peninsula and as far east as the southern Ukraine. It is found in oak forests, and frequently on limestone hills. It has moderate requirements of soil properties and moisture, and has done very well in the parks and streets of western and central European cities; it has also proved to be far more tolerant of the dry and smoky atmosphere of the cities than the local species of lime.

The silver lime grows to a height of 25 to 30 metres, and develops a large, ovoid crown with dense foliage. The dark grey bark is smooth, even in older trees. The twigs and buds are slightly hairy and the leaves are covered with silvery-grey hairs below. The pale, yellow-green flowers appear a few days later than those of the small-leaved lime and are even more fragrant. The fruit is a rounded, downy capsule. Unlike the other European lime trees, the silver lime retains its thick green foliage until late autumn, when the leaves turn yellow. It is an attractive ornamental and often planted in parks and avenues.

Leaves: Round-cordate, pointed, 5—11 cm long, often asymmetrical, silvery-grey tomentose below, with doubly serrate margin. Flowers: 6—10 in a pendent cluster. Fruit: A globular, slightly ribbed capsule, 2—4 borne together attached to the floral bract which acts as a wing for dispersal by wind.