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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):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

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


  • Alkaline soil,
  • Road salt

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

Seasons 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.

Location of Tilia platyphyllos (Big-leaved linden) at the Arboretum