Large-Leaf Lime
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Large-Leaf Lime
ntroduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Large-Leaf Lime
Botanical name: Tilia platyphyllos    Family: Tiliaceae (Falsa family)

Large-leaved Limeis a deciduous tree native to Europe, frequently planted as an ornamental tree in parks, or as a shade tree or a lawn tree. It is a narrowly domed tree with a moderate growth rate, and can eventually attain a height of 40 m. The reddish-brown young stems later develop dark gray bark with fine fissures and furrows. The branches spread upwards at wide angles. The twigs are reddish-green and slightly pubescent. Alternately arranged leaves, are larger than the related Small Leaved Lime, 6 to 9 cm (exceptionally 15 cm). They are ovate to heart-shaped, mid to dark green above and below, with white downy hair on the underside, particularly along the veins, tapering into a mucronate tip. The margin is sharply toothed, and the base heart-shaped, the venation is palmate along a midrib. The pubescent petiole is usually 3-4 cm long, but can vary between 1.5-5 cm. The small, fragrant, yellowish-white flowers are arranged in drooping, cyme-like clusters in groups of 3 to 4. Their whitish-green, leaf-like bracts have an oblong-obovate shape. The stalks carrying the clusters are between 1.5-3 cm long. The hermaphroditic flowers have 5 sepals and 5 tepals, numerous stamens, but no staminodes. The superior ovary is 2-10 locular with one smooth style. The flowers are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a small, round, velvety, cream-colored nutlet with a diameter of 1 cm or less. It has a woody shell with 3-5 ridges.
Medicinal uses: Although Tilia cordata is listed as the preferred medicinal species, T. platyphyllos is also used medicinally and somewhat interchangeably. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Linden tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the linden flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants), volatile oils, and mucilaginous constituents (which soothe and reduce inflammation). The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Emporium Garden in Srinagar, Kashmir.
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