This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
1. Lime (Tilia vulgaris, Hayne). 2. Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca, L.). 3. Holly (Ilex Aquifolium, L.). 4. Wild Cherry (Primus Cerasus, L.). 5. Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Acetosella, L.). 6. White Beam (Pyrus Aria, Ehrh.).
On the under surface, where the nerves are spreading", are triangular areas, enclosed by the walls of the nerves and a fringe of long hairs. Lindstrom regards these as domatia or abodes of mites, which lay their eggs in the fruit in special cavities. The mites remain in the domatia by day, coming out at night, and are thought to live on the spores of fungi which may be found on the leaves. Where the mites from Below are abundant at any rate the leaves are healthy. These domatia are found also in the Oak, Elm, Alder, Holly. The mites do not leave the domatia in the day, but at night travel over the leaves.
Photo. B. Hanley - Lime (tilia Vulgaris, L.)
The flowers are sweet-scented, pale whitish-green, in a naked cyme, which has a lance-shaped leaflike bract at the base of the drooping flower-stalk, which bears many flowers. There are 5 deciduous sepals, 5 petals. The stamens are numerous, free or united. The ovary is round, 5-celled, the cells 2-seeded. The fruit is 1-celled, leathery, woody, not ribbed, downy.
The tree is often 50 ft. high. It flowers in June, July, and August. It is a deciduous tree.
The flowers of this Lime are exceptionally sweet, and smell like honey. The scent is strongest at a distance of 30 yd., as in the case of the Vine, and the flowers are much visited therefore by bees - though the flowers are not conspicuous - for the abundant honey which is held in the sepals at the base, and short-lipped insects can reach it. The flowers are drooping and thus protected from the rain, and the leaves above and the bract-like appendage also shelter them above. The stamens are numerous, and before the stigma is mature they shed their pollen, so that the flower cannot pollinate itself. It is proterandrous, the anthers ripening first. The stamens are taller than the sepals or petals, and curve outwards. Insects are bound to settle on the space between the anthers and stigmas, or on either of them. The stamens are bent out, away from the pistil, which occupies the axis, and self-pollination is precluded. The seed rarely ripens, it is said, in Britain, but it does so more than is generally supposed.
The visitors are Hymenoptera (Apidae, Sphegidae) and Diptera (Syrphidae, Muscidae, Tabanidae).
The Lime is adapted to wind dispersal like most trees; the stalk bearing the cluster of nuts, which hang down below a wide scale-like bract or leaflike organ, acts as a sort of aeroplane, and carries the seeds to a distance, the fruit not opening.
This tree is a sand-lover or rock-lover, requiring a sand or rock soil.
The Lime is infested by many fungi.
A common fungus is Polyporus sulphureus. Eriophyes tilice forms nail-like outgrowths on the leaves. Cecidomyia tilicola forms galls in the flower-stalks. Fungi of the genera Nectria, Psilocybe, Hypholoma, Flammula, Pleurotus, Collybia, Gleosporium, and Exosporium infest it also. The beetles Rhynchites betuleti, Dorcus parallelepipediis, the Hymenopterous Eriocampa, the Lepidoptera Camberwell Beauty (Vanessa antiopa), Lime Hawk-moth (Smerinthus tilice), Pale Prominent (Notodonta palpind), Marvel du Jour (Miselia aprilinus), the Hemipterous Phytocoris tilice, the Homoptera Pterocolus tilice, As-pidiotus tilice, and the Diptera Cecidomyia tilice, Sciura tilicola are found on the Lime.
Tilia, Pliny, is the Latin for lime tree, and vulgaris denotes its universal occurrence. Lime is a variant of the old English lind. which is a Teutonic root. The Lime is called Lenten, Lime Tree, Lin, Linde, Line, Teili, Til, Tile or Tilet Tree, or Tillet or Tillet-tree, White Wood.
"' Now tell me thy name, good fellow,' said he, Under the leaves of lyne."
This tree was held in veneration, and superstitious people might formerly often be seen carrying sickly children to a forest for the purpose of dragging them through the holes so commonly to be found in this tree.
Garlands of flowers were tied with bark of the lime at banquets in the old days to prevent intoxication.
" Nay, nay, my boy, 't is not for me This studious pomp of Eastern luxury. Give me no various garlands fine With linden twine, Nor seek where latest lingering flows The solitary rose."
The inner bark or bast is used for matting in the garden, and, imported from Archangel, it is called Russian. The wood was used formerly in the days of wood engraving for wood blocks, and Holbein's work is said to have been done with lime blocks. The box is now very largely used in its place. Honey made by insects from this tree is said to be the best honey. The wood is used for turned bowls and dishes and pill-boxes. Baskets and cradles are made from the twigs. The bark was once used for writing tablets, and also rope. Formerly leather was cut on planks of the lime.
The Lime was formerly used largely in wood carving. Gibbons executed much good work in it, to be seen in churches and elsewhere, e.g. St. Paul's, Trinity College library, Cambridge, Chatsworth Hall.
Sugar is made from the sap.
Essential Specific Characters: 65. Tilia vulgaris, Hayne. - Tall tree, leaves large, glabrous, with woolly tufts in axils of veins beneath, flowers yellow, in a cyme, with an oblong, leafy bract, fruit not ribbed, downy.