Encyclopedia of Stanford Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Tilia cordata. LITTLE-LEAF LINDEN. Europe
TILIACEAE (Linden family)

A pleasant deciduous tree with heart-shaped toothed leaves about 3 inches across and with a point. The leaf is dark green above, paler underneath, and has rusty tufts of down in the rib axils. The leaves alternate between left and right handed, successive leaves being mirror images of each other. A distinctive feature of lindens is the way the flower stalk rises from the middle of a special leaf-like bract. The flower buds are 3/16-inch green knobs, the small white flowers are fragrant, and the fruit is a brown furry ¼-inch nut, its length slightly greater than its diameter, in a five-ribbed hard shell containing a single kernel. Viewed end-on, the cross section is a pentagon.

If you have ever been to England you will have noticed that the most outstanding examples of wood carving in cathedrals, chapels, and stately homes seem to have been done by one man, Grinling Gibbons (1648–1720). All this work was carved from the wood of the lime tree, as the linden is known there. The fibrous bast was widely used for cordage and matting.

Four trees grow at Muwekma-tah-ruk, 543 Lasuen Mall, four are across the street at Storey House, and five more are next door at 550 Lasuen Mall. The following are all similar and appear to be hybrids: Two tall lindens on the north side of the southernmost Stauffer Chemical Engineering Building, a shady row of nine (reputed to be ‘Greenspire’) along the southwest side of Delta Delta Delta House at the corner of Campus Drive East and Bowdoin Street (1967), and half a dozen at the entrance to Green Earth Sciences at the start of Panama Street.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

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Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library

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