Tilia cordata
Common Name: little-leaf linden 
Type: Tree
Family: Malvaceae
Native Range: Europe, southwestern Asia
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 50.00 to 70.00 feet
Spread: 35.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Pale yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, fertile, well-drained loams, but adapts to a wide range of soil conditions. Good tolerance for urban conditions. Tolerant of heavy pruning, and may be grown as a hedge.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tilia cordata, commonly called littleleaf linden, is native to Europe. It has been widely planted in the U.S. as an ornamental shade tree because of its (a) attractive foliage, (b) dense, low-branched, pyramidal to ovate form and (c) tolerance for urban conditions. Ornamental features include fragrant pale yellow flowers in late spring, small nutlets with attached leafy wings (to 3.5” long) and ovate, shiny dark green leaves (to 3” long) with acuminate tips, serrate margins and cordate bases. This is a medium to large deciduous tree, typically growing to 50-70’ (less frequently to 100’) tall. Fragrant, creamy yellow flowers in drooping cymes appear in June. When a tree is in full bloom, bees often visit in such abundant numbers that humming can be heard many feet from the tree. Flowers give way to nutlets that are attached to narrow bract-like wings (top 3.5” long). Nutlets ripen in late summer. Fall color is an undistinguished pale green to pale yellow. A number of narrow pyramidal to fastigiate cultivars are available in commerce.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for the linden or lime tree, known in southern Sweden as linn and the origin of the name Linnaeus.

Specific epithet mean heart-shaped for the leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems. Verticillium wilt is infrequent, but can be fatal. Powdery mildew, leaf spots and canker may occur. Insect visitors include borers, scale, leaf miner, lace bugs, caterpillars, aphids and Japanese beetles. Spider mites can be troublesome, particularly in hot, dry periods.


Shade, lawn tree or street tree. Prune for use as hedge or screen. From a landscape standpoint, many consider this species to be the best of the lindens.