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Mongolian linden

Leaves and flowers of Mongolian linden.

Mongolian linden is smaller than other species of lindens and it has an unusual exfoliating (peeling) bark. It is slower growing than other lindens. Fall color is a moderate yellow.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Tilia mongolica

All common names:

Mongolian 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:

  • medium tree (25-40 feet),
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)

Mature Height:

20-30 feet

Mature Width:

15-25 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago)

Soil Preference:

  • Acid soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Alkaline soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Intolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • May be difficult to find in nurseries

Ornamental Interest:

  • Summer blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Attractive bark

Seasons of Interest:

  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Pyramidal,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Insect pollinators

More Information:

Mongolian Linden (Tilia mongolica)
Mongolian Linden form
photo: John Hagstrom
Tree & Plant Care

Best in moist, well-drained soils.  Prefers acid soil, but can tolerate alkaline soil.

Disease, pests, and problems

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

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Shows resistance to aphids.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China.

Bark color and texture 

Exfoliating bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves are atypical for linden; 3 to 5 lobed, with sharply serrated margins.  Leaf size can vary from 2 to 3 inches.
In summer, leaves are dark green.  Fall color is a mild yellow.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Creamy yellow flowers in hanging clusters in early summer.  Each cluster is accompanied by a long, strap-shaped bract.  Very fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

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

Cultivars and their differences 

Harvest Gold Linden (Tilia 'Harvest Gold):  This is a hybrid between Tilia mongolica and Tilia cordata.  Leaves look more like little-leaf linden than mongolian linden.  Upright habit, 40 feet high by 30 feet wide.  Good yellow fall color.

Location of Tilia mongolica (Mongolian linden) at the Arboretum