Tilia cordata

Littleleaf Linden, Small-leaved Lime




  • native to Europe
  • hardy to zone 4
  • long time in cultivation

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous medium to large tree
  • typically 50' to 60' tall
  • can reach 80' to 90' tall
  • formal pyramidal or conical shape in youth
  • ovate to gum-drop shaped when mature
  • dense and compact branching
  • branches are upright and spreading

Summer Foliage

  • deciduous
  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • leaves are 1.5" to 3.5" long
  • heart-shaped leaves
  • leaf base is cordate or oblique
  • leaf has short acuminate tip
  • dark green and shiny above
  • light green undersides of leaves

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow or yellow-green
  • not showy


  • small, individual flowers in loose drooping clusters
  • flower clusters with a leaf-like bract
  • light yellow or creamy flower color
  • blooms in late June and early July
  • fragrant
  • bees are attracted to the flowers


  • small round nutlet 0.2' to 0.3" in diameter
  • cream color; pubescent
  • slightly ornamental in late summer


  • ridges and furrows
  • color is gray-brown


  • full sun to light shade
  • easily transplanted
  • prefers moist, deep, fertile, well-drained soils
  • tolerant of difficult growing sites and soils
  • urban tolerant
  • pollution tolerant
  • very pH adaptable
  • tolerates hedging well

Landscape Uses

  • shade tree
  • lawn tree
  • street tree
  • urban locations
  • planter boxes
  • as a large hedge
  • city malls and plantings
  • for formal habit, regularity and symmetry


  • attracts bees when in bloom
  • Japanese beetles
  • aphids
  • sooty mold

ID Features

  • small, heart-shaped leaves
  • dense, pyramidal habit
  • buds and twigs green and brown


  • by seed
  • cultivars mostly by bud grafting or cuttings


'Baileyi' (Shamrock®) - A variation on the 'Greenspire' theme, this new introduction features thicker branches that are less profuse, creating a more open crown. It grows quicker, as well, and reaches 50' tall and 30' wide with a broad-conical habit. The foliage is healthy, glossy medium green.

'Chancole' (Chancellor®) - This selection works well as a street tree due to its narrow upright habit, to 50' tall and only 20' wide. The wide crotch angles make the tree resistant to breaking up during storms, plus it is tolerant of drought. The lustrous leaves may turn yellow in fall.

'Corzam' (Corinthian®) - Assuming the uniform pyramidal habit prized by homeowners, this compact selection is well suited for use as a street tree. The lateral branches are arranged uniformly around a strong central leader, and the plant reaches 45' tall with a spread of 15'. The glossy dark green leaves create a pyramid of green all summer.

'Glenleven' - Possibly a T. x flavescens selection, this symmetrical plant grows quickly to reach 50' tall and 35' wide. The overall habit is more open than typical T. cordata, and the leaves are larger than those on some cultivars, such as 'Greenspire'.

'Green Globe' and 'Lico' - These are dwarf forms that assume a "lollipop on a stick" appearance. The crown is a tight, compact ball of foliage and the plants are usually grafted and fail to exceed 15' in height.

'Greenspire' - Perhaps the most widely used T. cordata cultivar, this vigorous grower reaches 50' tall by 35' wide. It develops a narrow, oval crown with a straight trunk. It is popular due to its uniform branching, dark green leaves and exceptional tolerance for difficult conditions.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.