Content Detail

Little-leaved linden is a great shade tree for lawns or parkway plantings in urban settings due to its ability to withstand polluted environments. It has shiny dark green leaves that turn a clear yellow in fall, and in summer it has dangling, fragrant pale yellow flowers. This tree is prone to attack by Japanese beetles.

  • Family (English) Linden
  • Family (botanic) Tiliaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 60-70 feet
  • Mature width 30-40 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Yellow
  • Shape or form Oval, Pyramidal, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate
  • Transplants well Yes
  • Wildlife Insect pollinators
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat:

This tree is native to Europe.

Bark color and texture:

Bark is gray-brown. It is smooth on young trunks and ages to a ridged and furrowed appearance.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The simple, alternate leaves are 1 ½ to  3 inches long and wide, heart-shaped with an uneven base. Leaves are medium green in summer changing to clear yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Creamy yellow flowers in hanging clusters of 5 to 7 flowers bloom in early summer. Each cluster is accompanied by a long, strap-shaped bract and is very fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruits are small, slightly hairy, round nutlets, accompanied by a long strap-like bract.

Plant care:

This species benefits from a mulch layer to maintain a cool root environment. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Aphids and Japanese beetles can be a problem for this tree. It is tolerant of pollution.

Chancellor little-leaved linden  (Tilia cordata ‘Chancellor’):  

This cultivar is more compact than the species, growing to 50 feet tall rather than 70 feet. The habit is upright in youth and more pyramidal when mature.

Cornithian® little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Corzam’): 

This cultivar is a narrow pyramidal shape formed by a straight central trunk and evenly spaced branching. It reaches 45 feet high by 15 feet wide.

Greenspire little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’): 

This cultivar also grows shorter than the species, maturing at 50 feet tall. The habit is a neat pyramidal shape with a central leader.

Glenleven linden (Tilia cordata ‘Glenleven’):

This is now classified as Tilia x flavescens ‘Glenleven’. It is a faster growing cultivar with a straight trunk and more open habit.

Shamrock® little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Baileyi’):

Similar to ‘Greenspire’, but with a more open crown. It grows 50 feet high by 30 feet wide.

Summer Sprite® little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Halka’):

This compact cultivar with rounded shape grows 20 feet high by 15 feet wide.


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