Common Name: littleleaf linden

Scientific Name: 
Genus: Tilia
Species: T. cordata

Hardiness Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 50 to 70 ft
Width: 35 to 50


Common characteristics:

Little leaf linden bark is gray-brown and is smooth on young trunks and then ages to a ridged and furrowed appearance. Leaves are simple and alternately arranged on the twigs. They are typically 1-3" long and have a heart-shaped base. Green leaves in the summer will give way to clear yellow ones in fall. Flowers are a fragrant creamy yellow and will hang in clusters of 5-7 flowers, blooming in early summer. The flowers will give way to small green to yellowish-green nutlets. 

Where it grows:

Prefers moist, well-drained soils. This tree will tolerate occasional drought and alkaline soils. Although it has been used as a popular urban landscape tree it has a low tolerance for salt spray and may not be suited for growth near roads.  

How it’s used:

It is best used as a shade tree in lawns or parks. 

Ecosystem services:

Used widely by insect pollinators, a favorite of honey bees, as a habitat by birds and mammals.  

Where it is native to:

This European native species is now commonly used in the United States as a shade tree.

Known Varieties and Their Traits:

Chancellor little-leaved linden  (Tilia cordata ‘Chancellor’):  This cultivar is more compact than the species (50 feet tall rather than 70 feet).  The habit is upright in youth and more pyramidal when mature.

Cornithian® little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Corzam’):  Narrow-pyramidal shape formed by a straight central trunk and evenly spaced branching.  45 feet high by 15 feet wide.

Greenspire little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’):  This cultivar also grows shorter than the species (50 feet).  The habit is a neat pyramidal shape with a central leader.

Glenleven linden (Tilia cordata ‘Glenleven’): This is now classified as Tilia flavenscens 'Glenleven'.   Faster growing with a straight trunk and more open habit.

Shamrock® little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Baileyi’): Similar to 'Greenspire', but with a more open crown. 50 feet high by 30 feet wide.

Summer Sprite® little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata ‘Halka’): Compact cultivar with rounded shape; grows 20 feet high by 15 feet wide.


Watch for aphids and Japanese beetles as they can be a problem. Tolerant of pollution common to the urban landscape  


Missouri Botanical Garden

The Morton Arboretum