homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner
Tilia x europaea - L.
Common Name Common Lime
Family Tiliaceae
USDA hardiness 3-9
Known Hazards If the flowers used for making tea are too old, they may produce symptoms of narcotic intoxication[4].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range A hybrid, probably T. cordata. x T. platyphyllos.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Tilia x europaea Common Lime

Tilia x europaea Common Lime
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Tilia x europaea is a deciduous Tree growing to 35 m (114ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

T. x. europaea. L. T. intermedia. T. officinarum.

Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Manna;  Sap.
Edible Uses: Chocolate;  Sweetener;  Tea.

Young leaves - raw[6, 177, 183]. Excellent in salads, they are mild and mucilaginous. A refreshing tea is made from the dried flowers[183]. A honey-like fragrance[183]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. Flowers - used as a vegetable[183]. A very acceptable chocolate substitute can be made from a paste of the ground-up flowers and immature fruit. Trials on marketing the product failed because the paste is very apt to decompose[2, 115]. Sap - used as a drink or concentrated to make a syrup and used as a sweetener[4, 115, 183]. An edible manna is obtained from the tree[183]. No further details, does this report refer to the sap?
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Hypotensive;  Sedative;  
Skin;  Vasodilator.

Lime flowers are a popular domestic remedy for a number of ailments, especially in the treatment of colds and other ailments where sweating is desirable[9]. A tea made from the fresh or dried flowers is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, expectorant, hypotensive, laxative and sedative[4, 9, 13, 226, 238]. Lime flower tea is also used internally in the treatment of indigestion, hypertension, hardening of the arteries, hysteria, nervous vomiting or palpitation[4, 238]. The flowers are harvested commercially and often sold in health shops etc[226]. Lime flowers are said to develop narcotic properties as they age and so they should only be harvested when freshly opened[238]. A charcoal made from the wood is used in the treatment of gastric or dyspeptic disturbances and is also made into a powder then applied to burns or sore places[4].
Other Uses
Charcoal;  Fibre;  Paper;  Wood.

A fibre from the inner bark is used to make mats, shoes, baskets, ropes etc[1, 13, 14, 46, 61, 100]. It is also suitable for cloth[115]. It is harvested from trunks that are 15 - 30cm in diameter[115]. The fibre can also be used for making paper[189]. The stems are harvested in spring or summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The outer bark is removed from the inner bark by peeling or scraping. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill. The paper is beige in colour[189]. Wood - soft, white, easily carved. It is very suitable for carving domestic items and small non-durable items[4, 13, 46, 61, 115]. A charcoal made from the wood is used for drawing[46, 61, 115].
Cultivation details
Prefers a good moist loamy alkaline to neutral soil but succeeds on slightly acid soils[11, 200]. Grows poorly on any very dry or very wet soil[200]. Succeeds on poorer soils than T. platyphyllos[11, 14]. Tolerates considerable exposure[125]. A very valuable bee plant[11]. The flowers are toxic to bees[188]. A food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species[30]. This tree is frequently infested by aphis[17, 200], which cover the ground and the leaves with a sticky honeydew[188]. Although a hybrid species, it does produce fertile seed in Britain[17]. Lime trees tend to hybridise freely if other members of the genus are growing nearby[238]. If growing plants from seed it is important to ensure the seed came from a wild source or from an isolated clump of the single species[K]. Easily transplanted, even when quite large, trees up to 60 years old have been moved successfully[1, 74]. Can be coppiced, the tree produces suckers very freely[98, 200]. Grows best in a woodland situation, young plants tolerate a reasonable level of side shade[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
Seed - much of the seed produced in Britain is not viable, cut a few seedcases open to see if there is a seed inside[80]. If possible, obtain fresh seed that is ripe but has not as yet developed a hard seed coat and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may germinate in the following spring though it could take 18 months[80]. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. It has a hard seed coat, embryo dormancy and a hard coat on the pericarp. All these factors mean that the seed may take up to 8 years to germinate[80]. One way of shortening this time is to stratify the seed for 5 months at high temperatures (10°c at night, up to 30°c by day) and then 5 months cold stratification[80]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in spring just before the leaves unfurl. Takes 1 - 3 years[78]. Suckers, when formed, can be removed with as much root as possible during the dormant season and replanted immediately[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Corchorus capsularisJute32
Corchorus olitoriusJew's Mallow, Nalta jute32
Entelea arborescensCorkwood Tree00
Grewia biloba parviflora 10
Grewia oppositifolia 20
Tilia americanaAmerican Basswood, Carolina basswood, Basswood, AmericanBasswood, American Linden33
Tilia amurensis 31
Tilia carolinianaCarolina Basswood31
Tilia chinensis 31
Tilia cordataSmall Leaved Lime, Littleleaf linden53
Tilia heterophyllaWhite Basswood, American basswood32
Tilia japonicaJapanese Lime31
Tilia mongolicaMongolian Lime31
Tilia oliveri 31
Tilia platyphyllosLarge Leaved Lime, Largeleaf linden, Bigleaf Linden53
Tilia tomentosaSilver Lime31
Tilia tuan 31
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
christopher spence Thu Mar 8 2007
wild common lyme can be found in south bedfordshire near to leighton buzzard and luton
Elizabeth H.
Carol Hughes Mon Jul 2 2007
trying to identify tree at bottom of garden which is approximately 100 + high but need shape of leaves - these are heart shaped. Don't know if it will be protected or not - how do you find out?
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment/link

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Tilia x europaea  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

PFAF Newsletter

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email newsletter. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.