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Friday, 13 July 2018

Lime Trees

Here is an extract from an information board at Silverdale. I find it astonishing that Small Leaved Lime can be thousands of years old. At one time is was the dominant tree of the wildwood in many parts of England and not the Oak.

I have planted a few Small Leaved Lime (Tilia cordata) and they are fast growing on suitable sites. They are insect pollinated and bees love the summer blossom. Stand under a Lime tree and listen to the hum of the bees.

I wish it were included in tree planting schemes but it seems a forgotten tree. It coppices and pollards reliably. It grows the tallest of any native tree and tolerates shade nearly as much as Beech. Maybe the Common Lime used in many roadside plantings have given it a bad reputation, particularly with car owners.

Let's speak up for T. cordata and include it in the new plantations.


  1. Very interesting. They do self-seed occasionally, I have a small group of saplings in pots that I rescued rather than weeding them out around a lime tree in Hipperholme a few years ago. The first two seedling leaves are surprisingly unlike the mature lime leaves, being divided into "fingers".

    I would disagree with the writer of the notice that re-growth from an old stump is layering. That term is used for the rooting of a branch that grows away from the trunk, low enough to touch the ground when it gets long and heavy, and where it touches the ground it produces roots and sends up a new tree, or a clone of the original tree. Many species do this, including some conifers.

    There is a good example of layering in Hebden Bridge where a Goat Willow has done it near the railway bridge on Palace House Road. You can see it from the car if you're driving, near the traffic lights.(I hope Network Rail hasn't cut it back, but they may have.)

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  3. I've looked for small -leaved lime in some of the old woods of Silverdale, Furness and the Lakes, but disappointingly have never come across it....or not knowingly anyway.

  4. Hi Chris, there are many small leaved lime if you go on the coast path from Arnside to new barns bay. Or go to Jenny Browns Point at Silverdale and follow the coast path past the old Chimney. I seem to recall Humphrey Head on the other side of the bay, near Grange-over-Sands has some. Also at Humphrey Head is the rare Wild Service tree. There are many T. cordata generally around Arnside/Silverdale. One of the best identifying features are the flowers, where the bract and its flowers turn up towards the sun and rise above the leaves. The other species have flowers which hang down below the leaves. Happy hunting!

    Steve, layering is perhaps not the word. The Ancient Tree Forum refer to them as "Phoenix Trees", as they rise again from their collapsed trunk and can in this way "walk" across the landscape--given time of course.

  5. Thanks Philip. I know most of the areas you describe reasonably well and will certainly pay closer attention the next time I'm up that way.