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 guidance

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

Locally common as a native species in Charnwood Forest but rare elsewhere in Leicestershire & Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 22 of the 617 tetrads. 

However, it is increasingly being planted, in a form claimed to be aphid-free.

It is on the local VC55 Rare Plant Register as a native plant.  The current checklist (Jeeves 2011) states that it is scarce, but can be locally frequent, as in Buddon Wood, Owston Woods and Swithland Wood.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map