Tilia is a taxonomically complex genus of about 23 species, native in temperate to subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere. Many species are interfertile and natural hybrids are frequently produced, in cultivation as well as in the wild.

In Belgium two species are presumably native (at least in part of the territory): Tilia cordata Mill. and T. platyphyllos Scop. Their hybrid, Tilia xeuropaea L., is rather rarely found in the wild (if ever; see Lambinon 1979) but, like its parents, much planted as an ornamental in gardens and parks.

Seedlings of cultivated Tilia species are increasingly found in urban wastelands (demolition sites, disused railway yards,…) but rarely reach maturity. In the juvenile stage they are hardly identifiable. In addition to the species treated here, several others might occur as garden escapes in Belgium, including Tilia americana L. (see also Schmid 2005).

A very useful and up-to-date account (with an identification key) on the genus in cultivation in Central-Europe is provided by Jablonski (2011).

  • Leaves white-tomentose beneath with stellate hairs === 1. Tilia tomentosa
  • Leaves almost hairless beneath or with scattered simple hairs on the veins (native) === T. cordata, T. xeuropaea, T. platyphyllos



Browicz K. (1968) Tilia. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 247-248.

De Koning J., Van den Broek J.W., Van de Laar H.J. & Fortgens G. (2000) Nederlandse dendrologie (13e druk). H. Veenman & zonen, Ede: 585 p.

De Langhe J. (2005) Determinatiesleutel voor het geslacht Tilia L. (Malvaceae Juss.). Belgische Dendrologie 2005: 72-80.

Jablonski E. (2011) Kultivierte Linden (Tilia L., Malvaceae Juss.) in Mitteleuropa. Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 96: 33-56.

Jablonski E. & Plietzsch A. (2013) Kultivierte Linden, II: Sorten vonTilia cordata Mill., T. platyphyllos Scop. und T. ×europaea L. Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 98: 89-110. [available online at: https://www.ddg-web.de/files/DDG-Veroeffentlichungen/Plietzsch%20Linden%...

Jablonski E. & Plietzsch A. (2014) Kultivierte Linden, III: Sorten eurasischer und nordamerikanischer Tilia-Arten  (exkl. T. cordata Mill., T. platyphyllos Scop., T. europaea L.). Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 99: 83-102.

Lambinon J. (1979) Quelques remarques à propos de la publication des commentaires à l’atlas de la Flore Belge et Luxembourgeoise. Nat. Mosana 32(2): 73-85.

Muir N. (1984) A survey of the genus Tilia. The Plantsman 5(4): 206-242.

Pigott C.D. (1997) Tilia. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 205-212.

Pigott D. (2012) Lime-trees and basswoods. A biological monograph of the genus Tilia. Cambridge University Press: XIII + 395 p.

Scheller H. (1972) Die Linden in Gärten und Parks des unteren Maingebietes. Mitt. Deutsch. Dendrol. Ges. 65: 7-42.

Schmid M. (2005) Untersuchung zur neophytischen Gehölzflora im Stuttgarter Stadtgebiet. Jh. Ges. Naturkde. Württemberg 161: 178-257.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith