Small-leaved Lime - Tilia cordata


Large tree to 30 metres. Leaves almost rounded with a heart shaped base, sharply toothed, mostly 3 to 7 cm long.  Leaves with buff-orange hair tufts in the underside vein axils, but orangey hairs may sometimes be found in the hybrid lime, so its isn't a reliable form of ID. . Flowers 7 to 8 mm, yellowish-white and fragrant, in erect or oblique cymes, held above horizontal.  

Similar Species

other limes, especially the hybrid Common Lime

Identification difficulty
ID checklist (your specimen should have all of these features)

Only record this species for trees with consistently small crown-leaves (3-7cm) and with erect or obliquely erect cymes.

Recording advice

Photos of the flower cymes showing manner of growth


Woodland, but also widely planted, often as the form 'Greenspire'.

When to see it

June and July.

Life History


UK Status

Records are widespread over much of England and into Wales.

VC55 Status

Occasional/locally frequent as a native species in old woodlands in Charnwood Forest and Rutland, and frequently planted, increasingly as the cultivar 'Greenspire' as an aphid-free street and park tree.

The VC55 checklist (Jeeves 2011) states that it is scarce, but can be locally frequent, as in Buddon Wood, Owston Woods and Swithland Wood.

It was on the 2011 VC55 Rare Plant Register (Jeeves, 2011) but is not on the current RPR (Hall & Woodward, 2022); it is listed as 'data deficient' because it is not clear whether records are of introduced/escaped plants or natives.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Small-leaved Lime
Species group:
Trees, Shrubs & Climbers
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
21/09/2005 (Brice Ebert;Emma Williams)
Last record:
14/06/2024 (Nicholls, David)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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