TILIA, LIME or LINDEN TREE

T. The yellowish-white flowers of most species have some medicinal value and are extensively visited by bees as they contain considerable quantities of nectar. They have a pronounced fragrance, suggestive of honeysuckle. The carvings of Grinling Gibbons were executed in lime. It is little used for timber, though of great merit for the making of piano keys, and is mainly regarded as a shade or avenue tree. Tilia europaea (also known as vulgaris and intermedia) is the common lime which ultimately reaches 100 ft.

T. platyphyllos rubra (collina) is the red-twigged lime, the young shoots turning reddish-brown in winter. It is possibly the best lime for street-planting as it does well in smoky districts.

T. tomentosa (argentea) is the white or silver lime with white undersides to the foliage. The weeping silver lime is Tilia petiolaris (argentea pendula), rarely seen in gardens, but it is well worth growing. Limes are often attacked by aphids which disfigure the foliage with ‘honey-dew’. This provides nourishment for the disorder known as sooty mould (often found on rose trees). Lime trees infected with sooty mould exhibit a black sooty deposit on the upper leaf surface, caused in the first instance by the mingling of the dark-coloured mycelia of several fungi. Mistletoe is also parasitic on lime trees.

Limes succeed on most soils, including chalky ones. They can be increased by seed, although this only ripens properly in a really hot summer and grafting in March on to the same species is the more usual method of propagation.

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