Tilia

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Related to Tilia species: linden tree, genus Tilia, Tilia americana

Tilia

 

(linden), a genus of deciduous trees of the family Tilia-ceae. The trees are 15–25 m high (sometimes 40 m) and have a diameter of 2 m (sometimes 5 m). The bark is grayish brown and often cracks on older trees. The leaves are alternate, round or broadly ovate, sinuate or truncate at the base, and dentate (less often, smooth-edged; sometimes lobed; and in garden forms, pinnately cleft). The inflorescence is a cyme, and an oblong ligulate bract is attached to the peduncle. The regular flowers have five sepals and five white or yellow-white petals; sometimes there are infertile petaloid stamens, or staminodes. There are numerous stamens, and the ovary is superior with three to five cells. The nutlike fruit has one to three seeds and is smooth, tuberculate, or ribbed. Sometimes these trees, particularly the European linden (Tilia europea), live 500–1,000 years.

There are approximately 50 species of Tilia in the northern hemisphere. Seventeen species are found in the USSR, the most common being littleleaf linden (T. cordata), European linden, T. caucasica (in the Caucasus), and T. amurensis (in the Far East). Lindens can tolerate shade and are resistant to wind and smoke. They are propagated by seeds and readily produce new shoots from the stump. They yield large quantities of nectar. Lindens are widely cultivated in parks. Their soft and easily worked wood is used for production of furniture, tubs, veneers, and musical instruments. The phloem is used in the production of bast, and the bark of young trees is used for making baskets, footwear, and twine. A tincture of the dried white inflorescences and the bracts is taken internally as a diaphoretic; it is also used as a gargle. Linden flowers are used in diaphoretic tea.

I. V. VASIL’EV