If the flowers used for making tea are too old, they may produce symptoms of narcotic intoxication.
Young leaves - raw. They make an excellent salad or sandwich filling, they are mild tasting and somewhat mucilaginous[K]. The leaves can be available from spring until early autumn from the young growths at the base of the tree[K]. A very acceptable chocolate substitute can be made from a paste of the ground-up flowers and immature fruit. Trials on marketing the product failed because the paste is very apt to decompose. A popular herb tea is made from the flowers, it has a sweet, fragrant pleasant flavour. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Sap - harvested in the spring, it is sweet and can be used as a drink or concentrated into a syrup.
A fibre from the inner bark is used to make mats, shoes, baskets, ropes etc. It is also suitable for cloth. It is harvested from trunks that are 15 - 30cm in diameter. The fibre can also be used for making paper. The stems are harvested in spring or summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The outer bark is removed from the inner bark by peeling or scraping. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill. The paper is beige in colour. Wood - soft, white, easily carved. It is very suitable for carving domestic items and small non-durable items. A charcoal made from the wood is used for drawing.
Lime flowers are a popular domestic remedy for a number of ailments, especially in the treatment of colds and other ailments where sweating is desirable. A tea made from the fresh or dried flowers is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, expectorant, hypotensive, laxative and sedative. Lime flower tea is also used internally in the treatment of indigestion, hypertension, hardening of the arteries, hysteria, nervous vomiting or palpitation. The flowers are harvested commercially and often sold in health shops etc. Lime flowers are said to develop narcotic properties as they age and so they should only be harvested when freshly opened. A charcoal made from the wood is used in the treatment of gastric or dyspeptic disturbances and is also made into a powder then applied to burns or sore places.
Seed - much of the seed produced in Britain is not viable, cut a few seedcases open to see if there is a seed inside. If possible, obtain fresh seed that is ripe but has not as yet developed a hard seed coat and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may germinate in the following spring though it could take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. It has a hard seed coat, embryo dormancy and a hard coat on the pericarp. All these factors mean that the seed may take up to 8 years to germinate. One way of shortening this time is to stratify the seed for 5 months at high temperatures (10°c at night, up to 30°c by day) and then 5 months cold stratification. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in spring just before the leaves unfurl. Takes 1 - 3 years. Suckers, when formed, can be removed with as much root as possible during the dormant season and replanted immediately.
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Prefers a good moist loamy alkaline to neutral soil but it also succeeds on slightly acid soils. Grows poorly on any very dry or very wet soil. Tolerates considerable exposure[125, K]. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade. Plants can be transplanted quite easily, even when large, trees up to 60 years old have been moved successfully. Trees are very amenable to coppicing or pollarding. They produce numerous suckers from the base. Suckers are produced but not freely according to another report. This species produces far less suckers than T. platyphyllos or T. x vulgaris. This species grows well in Britain, but it rarely produces viable seed in areas with cool summers. Lime trees tend to hybridise freely if other members of the genus are growing nearby. If growing plants from seed it is important to ensure the seed came from a wild source or from an isolated clump of the single species[K]. Grows best in a woodland situation, young plants tolerate a reasonable level of side shade. Mature trees cast a dense shade. A very valuable bee plant, producing an abundance of nectar. A valuable species for wildlife, there are 31 species of insects associated with this tree. The leaves are very attractive to leaf aphis and these aphis produce an abundance of sweet secretions which drip off the leaves to the ground below and also attract sooty mould fungus. This makes the tree unsuitable for street planting. This species, however, is less likely to become infested with aphis than T. platyphyllos or T. x vulgaris. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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