The small-leaved lime is widespread throughout most of Europe, extending northwards to Sweden, and eastwards to the Urals. In western and central Europe it occurs in oak forests in lowland and hill country. It also grows as a scattered tree in riverine forests, and is plentiful in scree woods. It grows to a height of 25 to 30 metres and, under forest competition, develops a long, straight bole; open-grown forms have a short, stout trunk with large, broadly ovoid crown. It may live to an age of 500 to 800 years. Centuries-old solitary trees in the country afford not only shade and respite from the heat, but also a lovely sight for the eyes to feast on. The small-leaved lime is one of the latest-flowering trees. When the yellowish-green flowers appear in July, their heady fragrance spreads far and wide. They are visited by bees, and the tree is thus of importance for honey production. The rounded leaves have rusty hairs in the axils of the veins on the underside. The globose fruit has a smooth, thin shell. Small-leaved lime stands up well to hard pruning, and is highly prized for planting in avenues. The soft, whitish wood is used for making pencils and for woodcarvings. The bast fibres are used in gardening for tying, and for making plaited articles.
Leaves: Alternate, round-cordate, 5—8 cm long, with pointed tip and serrate margin, blue-green on the underside with rusty hairs in the axils of the veins. Flowers: Pale yellow-green, 5—8 in a drooping cluster.
Fruit: A globular, nut-like capsule, 4—6 mm long, with one or more seeds.