Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
Sometimes called Small-Leaved Lime the Littleleaf Linden is a bit smaller tree than the American Linden. This European introduction has a rather formal, round-shaped head. They are planted in parks, streets, and lawns for ornamental purposes. This is one of the best medium-sized ornamental trees on the market. It will tolerate urban pollution and drought. Littleleaf Lindens are valued for their hardiness. They are able to handle winters as far north as New England and the Great Lakes (zone 3). Temperatures as low as -20° F do not harm them.
In Europe, many legends and superstitions are centered around these trees. Linden wood was used for carving sacred works of art, and the Linden tree, which was the village tree, played an important role in the life of early Europeans. Thus it was only natural that special curative power was ascribed to these medicinal trees.
Littleleaf Lindens naturally grow to 90 feet, but typically grow only to about half that height in cultivation, making them a good specimen tree for residential landscapes. They spread to only about 1/2 this height as they mature.
As their name suggests, littleleaf Lindens have smaller leaves than their Linden cousins. Individual leaves are round with pointed tips and measure only 3 inches across, giving a fine-textured appearance to the tree. Fully mature, they are medium to dark green with paler undersides and toothed edges. They stay green longer than those of American Linden and then turn yellow in fall before browning and dropping in October. The flowers of the Littleleaf Linden are very similar to those of the American Linden.
Littleleaf Linden Choices
Chancellor is upright to pyramidal and is a fast grower, dark green leaves are larger than other T. cordata. Glenleven is a very vigorous grower, has more open, informal form. Greenspire has a straight trunk, is tolerant of urban conditions, is good for streets, is a faster grower and its dense canopy and upright, straight trunk, is the standard of comparison among Lindens. Green Globe is a small to medium tree producing a rounded head of growth up to 13 feet in diameter. You can prune it to shape and maintain this tree indefinitely at less than ten feet in height simply by removing any excessively long branches. Good north to zone 3B. Handsworth has yellow-green young twigs, an winter attraction. Pyramidalis forms a wide pyramidal shape. Swedish Upright is a narrow, slow grower.