The small-leaved lime is a bushy, noble deciduous tree that grows up to 30 metres high. The dark trunk of the tree is smooth and straight. It has heart-shaped leaves and slightly hanging branches. The heady scented white flowers bloom in July. The small-leaved lime can easily be confused with the common lime (Tilia x europaea).
The small-leaved lime occurs in moist and grove-like heath forests, dry groves, lush ridges and rocky- and stream groves. Its range covers southern Fennoscandia, Central Europe and in areas of the Balkan Peninsula bordered by the Ural Mountains.
The small-leaved lime has great cultural value and is considered a sacred tree. Throughout the centuries, lovers have secretly met under its shade. Phloem fibre from its trunk was once commonly used to make ropes, nets, carpets and sacks. The tea brewed from its pleasant tasting flowers soothes many ailments.
Lime wood was once very popular and trees were cut down indiscriminately. Fortunately, the small-leaved lime is a rather tough species and it recovers from stump- and trunks sprouts. It is not used in forestry, but is nevertheless a very welcome species in growing sites. It is favoured in forest management at the expense over other tree species due to its rarity. The old forest foliage is an impressive and magnificent sight.
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