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Large-leaved Lime

Tilia platyphyllos

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Malvaceae (Mallow)
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 metres tall
Cliffs, gardens, parks, woodland.

Green, 5 petals
2 to 4 flowers per cluster. The flowers appear slightly earlier than the very similar-looking Common Lime.
Winged spherical nuts, very downy and ribbed.
Green, heart-shaped leaves, up to 12cm in length. The leaves turn yellow in autumn. Slightly hairy and sharply serrated margins. Often with white hairs in the bases of the leaf veins on the undersides. Large-leaved Lime is rarely found in the wild in the UK. Common Lime is a similar tree but Large-leaved Lime is shorter despite its name. The leaves are also hairier, larger and more abruptly pointed. The veins below are more prominent too.
The flowers are highly fragrant.
Other Names:
Bigleaf Linden, Big-leaved Lime, Broad-leaved Lime, Largeleaf Linden, Large-leaved Linden.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Tilia platyphyllos, also known as the "large-leaved lime" or "big-leaved lime," is a species of deciduous tree that is native to Europe. It is known for its large, heart-shaped leaves that can be up to 6 inches in width. The tree can grow up to 40 meters tall and has a broad, spreading crown. In summer, it produces drooping clusters of yellowish-green flowers that are very fragrant, followed by small nut-like fruits (drupe) that hang on the tree during winter. Tilia platyphyllos prefers moist, well-drained soils and full sun. It is often grown as an ornamental tree in gardens and parks and also used in ornamental horticulture, as well as for honey production.


The Large-leaved Lime, or Tilia platyphyllos, is a deciduous tree species that belongs to the Tiliaceae family. It is a tall tree that is native to much of Europe, from the Pyrenees in the west to the Caucasus Mountains in the east. The Large-leaved Lime is a popular ornamental tree in parks and gardens, thanks to its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers. It is also valued for its wood, which is used in furniture making and other applications.

Physical Characteristics

The Large-leaved Lime is a medium to large-sized tree that can reach heights of up to 40 meters (130 feet) in ideal conditions. The tree has a straight trunk that can grow to a diameter of up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) and is covered with a grayish-brown bark that becomes deeply furrowed as the tree ages. The branches are thick and widely spaced, forming a broad, rounded crown.

The leaves of the Large-leaved Lime are one of its most distinguishing features. They are large, heart-shaped, and can grow up to 15 centimeters (6 inches) long and 12 centimeters (5 inches) wide. The upper surface of the leaf is a deep, glossy green, while the lower surface is paler and covered in fine hairs. The leaves are arranged alternately on the branches and are attached to the stem by long, slender stalks.

The Large-leaved Lime flowers in late spring or early summer, producing fragrant, yellow-white flowers that are arranged in clusters. Each flower is made up of five petals and numerous stamens, which give it a distinctive, fluffy appearance. The flowers are a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, and they are often used to make a fragrant tea or added to salads.

Habitat and Growing Conditions

The Large-leaved Lime is a hardy tree that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained, fertile soil that is slightly acidic, but it can also grow in sandy or clay soils. The tree does best in full sun or partial shade and requires moderate watering. It is a popular tree for urban areas, as it can tolerate pollution and is resistant to pests and diseases.

The Large-leaved Lime is native to much of Europe, from the Pyrenees in the west to the Caucasus Mountains in the east. It grows in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, hedgerows, and open fields. In the wild, it is often found growing alongside other broadleaf trees such as oak, beech, and ash.


The Large-leaved Lime has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes. Its wood is hard and durable, making it ideal for furniture making, carving, and turning. The wood is also used to make musical instruments, such as guitars and pianos, thanks to its acoustic properties.

The leaves and flowers of the Large-leaved Lime have long been used in traditional medicine for their anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. They are often used to make herbal teas and tinctures, which are said to help with anxiety, insomnia, and digestive problems.

In addition to its medicinal uses, the Large-leaved Lime is also a popular ornamental tree. Its large, attractive leaves and fragrant flowers make it a popular choice for parks and gardens. The tree is often planted in urban areas to help reduce pollution and improve air quality.

The Large-leaved Lime is a beautiful and versatile tree that has been valued for centuries for its wood, medicinal properties, and ornamental qualities. Its large, heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers make it a popular choice for gardens and parks, while its hard, durable wood is prized for furniture.

More Information

The Large-leaved Lime is not only a beautiful and versatile tree but also has a rich cultural and historical significance. In many European cultures, the tree is associated with love, friendship, and loyalty. It is said that if a couple sits under a Large-leaved Lime tree, their love will grow and flourish. The tree also features prominently in folklore and mythology, with many stories and legends associated with it.

The Large-leaved Lime has also been used for food and drink. In some parts of Europe, the flowers are used to make a traditional cordial or syrup, which is added to drinks or used as a sweetener. The leaves of the tree are sometimes used as a salad green, and the tree's inner bark has been used as a substitute for flour in times of famine.

Despite its many uses and cultural significance, the Large-leaved Lime is facing some threats. Like many other tree species, it is vulnerable to climate change, which can affect its growth and reproduction. The tree is also threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, which can reduce its range and genetic diversity.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Large-leaved Lime and other tree species. Some initiatives involve planting new trees and protecting existing ones, while others focus on raising awareness of the importance of trees and their conservation. These efforts are crucial to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the many benefits of the Large-leaved Lime and other trees.

In addition to the cultural and ecological significance of the Large-leaved Lime, the tree also provides important ecosystem services. Its large size and broad canopy make it an effective carbon sink, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. The tree also provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and mammals.

The Large-leaved Lime is also a valuable source of timber, providing a sustainable and renewable resource for the forest products industry. However, it is important to manage tree harvesting and ensure that it is done in a responsible and sustainable manner to avoid overexploitation.

Another benefit of the Large-leaved Lime is its ability to improve soil quality. The tree's roots help to break up compacted soil, improving its structure and allowing water and nutrients to penetrate more easily. The fallen leaves and twigs also provide organic matter, adding nutrients to the soil and improving its fertility.

In conclusion, the Large-leaved Lime is a beautiful and important tree species that provides a wide range of benefits to humans and the environment. Its wood, leaves, and flowers have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, and it plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health. As we continue to face challenges such as climate change and habitat loss, it is important to recognize the value of trees like the Large-leaved Lime and take action to protect them for future generations.

Some facts about the Large-leaved Lime tree

Here are some interesting facts about the Large-leaved Lime:

  1. The Large-leaved Lime, also known as Tilia platyphyllos, is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 40 meters tall.

  2. The tree is native to Europe and parts of Asia, but has been introduced to other parts of the world as an ornamental tree.

  3. The leaves of the Large-leaved Lime are large, heart-shaped, and have a slightly serrated edge. They turn yellow in the fall.

  4. The tree produces small, fragrant, cream-colored flowers in early summer, which are attractive to bees and other pollinators.

  5. The Large-leaved Lime is a popular ornamental tree in parks and gardens due to its attractive foliage and flowers, as well as its shade-providing capabilities.

  6. The wood of the Large-leaved Lime is soft and light, making it ideal for carving and woodworking. It is often used to make furniture, musical instruments, and decorative objects.

  7. The bark of the Large-leaved Lime is smooth and gray, with shallow furrows and ridges.

  8. The Large-leaved Lime is an important tree species in European culture and folklore, with many stories and legends associated with it.

  9. The tree has a wide range of medicinal properties, and has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, colds, and fever.

  10. The Large-leaved Lime is an important food source for wildlife, providing nectar for bees and other pollinators, and seeds for birds and small mammals.


Video 1: Large-leaved Lime filmed at Wigan Locks in Lancashire on the 9th June 2023.


Music credits
Act Two - Tenebrous Brothers Carnival by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Video 2: Large-leaved Lime filmed in Anderton, Lancashire on the 11th June 2023.


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