TREES & plants

Big-leaved linden

Leaves and fruit of big-leaved linden.

Like other lindens, big-leaved linden produces clusters of very fragrant flowers in early summer. It has an attractive form and can be used as a street tree. This species may be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name: 
Tilia platyphyllos
All Common Names: 
big-leaved linden, bigleaf linden
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks, 
  • City parkway, 
  • Wide median
Landscape Uses: 
  • Parkway/street, 
  • Shade tree, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
60-80 feet
Mature Width: 
50-60 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Alkaline soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Prefers
Salt Spray: 
  • Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fragrant flowers
Season of Interest: 
  • Early summer
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant, 
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Pyramidal, 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

This species adapts to a wide range of soil conditions and does well in alkaline soil.  It is fairly tolerant of urban settings.

Disease, pests, and problems

Aphids, Japanese beetles, linden borer are possible insect problems.
Verticillium wilt is a possible fungal problem.

Native geographic location and habitat

This tree is native to Europe and Asia.

Bark color and texture 

Bark of young trees is a smooth gray, becoming ridged and furrowed with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves are heart-shaped with sharply serrated margins.  Leaf size can vary from 2 to 5 inches.
In summer, leaves are dark green with varying amounts of pubescence.  Fall color is pale yellow.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Creamy yellow flowers in hanging clusters (3 to 6 flowers per cluster) in early summer.  Each cluster is accompanied by a long, strap-shaped bract.  Very fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruits are small ribbed gray nutlets, accompanied by a long strap-like bract.

Tilia platyphyllos or Big-leaved linden