Tilia L.


Classical Latin name.

Medium to large trees. Young shoots often zig-zag. Leaves deciduous, simple, alternate, 2-ranked, mostly heart-shaped at the base, sometimes with hairs either unbranched or star-shaped (lens); margins saw toothed, long-stalked; often colouring butter yellow in autumn. Flowers small, inconspicuous, fragrant and nectariferous in long-stalked, hanging clusters, the stalk joined for about half its length to a conspicuous membranous wing (bract). Sepals and petals 5. Stamens numerous, free or in 5 clusters, sometimes with petal-like sterile ones opposite the petals in some species. Ovary superior, 5-chambered. Fruit roundish, the surface mostly downy, shell ribbed or smooth, thick, or thin and crushable between thumb and finger, indehiscent, nut-like, 1-3 seeded; mostly around December.

Mostly trees for cooler, moist hill areas and tablelands with rich soils. Often avoided because of the early leaf fall and the copious honeydew released by aphids on to surrounding paths and vehicles parked beneath.

Intergrading species may be found indicating hybridisation (between species other than those with well-known hybrids).

Seed is best but only viable for a short period and often unreliable; layers; soft and semi-hardwood cuttings or grafts for cultivars and hybrids.

Timber; inner bark for fibre; nectar for honey.

Young shoots often zig-zag; solitary, roundish winter buds with 2 scales; large membranous bracts attached to the lower portion of the stalks of flowers and fruits. The young leaves are often much smaller than mature ones.

About 45 species mostly north temperate.

Jones (1968), Muir (1984, 1988).

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Tiliaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Tilia 'Petiolaris'

Weeping tree. Young shoots hairy. Leaves 10-17 cm long when mature, lower surface and stalks covered with soft star-shaped (not unbranched) down. No axillary tufts of hair at junctions of veins with midrib. Flowers with staminodes; late spring to early summer. Fruit with 5 furrows (hardly ribbed). [T. petiolaris DC., T. tomentosa var. petiolaris (DC.) Kirchn.]

The origin of this cultivar is uncertain although its affinities appear to lie with T. tomentosa. The rounded fruits are slightly flattened but this is possibly due to its sterility.

The nectar is allegedly narcotic to bees.

Weeping habit; young shoots hairy; leaves with a felt of hair on the lower surface and stalks longer than half the leaf length; hairs star-shaped; fruit furrowed, not ribbed.

VIC: Castlemaine (private garden, Greenhill Ave); Sherbrooke ('Burnham Beeches'); The Basin ('Como Nurseries'). TAS: Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (western boundary above Oak Lawn).

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Malvales
family       Malvaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Tilia americana L.
species         Tilia cordata Mill.
species         Tilia ×europaea L.
species         Tilia platyphyllos Scop.
species         Tilia tomentosa Moench