TREES & plants

Little-leaved linden

Little-leaved linden is a great shade tree for lawns or parkway plantings in urban settings due to its ability to withstand polluted environments. It has shiny dark green leaves that turn a clear yellow in fall, and in summer it has dangling, fragrant pale yellow flowers.  This tree is prone to attack by Japanese beetles.

Botanical name: 
Tilia cordata
All Common Names: 
little-leaved linden, littleleaf linden
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
  • City parkway
  • Wide median
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
  • Parkway/street
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
60-70 feet
Mature Width: 
30-40 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Alkaline soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Summer blossoms
  • Fall color
  • Fragrant flowers
  • Persistent fruit/seeds
Season of Interest: 
  • Early summer
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Oval
  • Pyramidal
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Insect pollinators
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

  • must be watered during dry periods  
  • benefits from a mulch layer to maintain a cool root environment.  

Disease, pests, and problems


  • affected by aphids and Japanese beetles

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

  • pollution tolerant

Native geographic location and habitat



Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

  • caterpillar and larval host for the question mark butterfly.

Bark color and texture 

  • Color: gray-brown
  • Texture: ridged and furrowed

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture


  • Arrangement:
  • Size: 1 ½ - 3” long and wide
  • Shape: cordate
  • Texture: medium texture
  • Color: shiny dark green
  • Fall Color: clear yellow

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

  • Arrangement:
  • Shape:pendulous
  • Size: 2-3” with 1 ½-3 ½” long and 3/8”-3/4” wide floral bract

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

  • Type: A fuzzy, rounded gray nutlet is attached to a papery bract.

Cultivars and their differences 


Tilia cordata ‘Chancellor’ (Chancellor Little-Leaved Linden):  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.


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


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