The Silver linden Green Mountain (Tilia tomentosa ‘Green Mountain’) is a fast-growing tree with upright branches reaching heights of 50 to 70 feet with a spread of 40 to 60 feet. The tree is native to Europe and Asia and is popular in this country as a street tree because it is relatively free of disease and its canopy creates a dense shadow in the summer. The leaves of the Silver linden are 4 to 5” long have acuminate tips and serrated edges They are green above and silvery below which creates a shimmering effect when the leaves move in the breeze. In the early summer, the rich-scented flowers are intoxicating (= lethal) to bees; nevertheless the tree is used as a source of nectar for honeybees in Southeastern Europe. This tree features a light gray bark; smooth on young trees becoming more ridged on mature specimens. In the fall the leaves of Silver Linden turn pale green to pale yellow. The ‘Green Mountain’ variety is a cultivar and reportedly more resistant to Japanese beetle and gypsy moth. In the past this species has also been known as Tilia argentea. (The epithet is taken from the Latin word argentum for “silver”). The white of the underside of the leaf is due to the white color of dense hairs (tomentose) . This species was introduced to Britain and America in 1767. It was named by the German professor of Botany in Marburg, Conrad Moench. The genus name comes from the Latin name for Linden or lime tree, Tilia. In southern Sweden it is known as the linn or lind tree and was the origin of the family name Linnaeus. The common name “basswood” is derived from bastwood in reference to the tough inner bark (the bast) which was used to make rope and mats.
Common name: Silver Linden, Silver Lime
Scientific Name (family and order): Tilia tomentosa Moench (Malvaceae, Malvales)
Species Origin: S.W. Asia, S.E. Europe
New Jersey Status: USDA Unreported
Habit: 100’ tall x 60’ wide.
Habitat: Zone 4 -7; mixed deciduous and evergreen woods.
Trunk/Stem: Bark gray with shallow ridges. Stems are covered with short, soft pubescence; the dense short pubescent stem separate this species and T. petiolaris from the other commonly grown lindens. T. petiolaris is thought to be a cultivar of T. tomentosa (Dirr 2009, pg 1192)
Leaves: Deciduous, Simple, Alternate. Leaves rounded to heart shaped, 4 ¾” long and 4” wide; often slightly lobed and asymmetric; heart-shaped at base; apex tapering to sharp point (mucroate). Blade margins are toothed to doubly-serrate; top is dark green; below the leaf surface is white pubescent. The leaves flash a distinctive white and green as they flutter in the breeze.
Flowers: Perfect. Small ¾” wide, pale yellow but highly fragrant with five petals; flowers present in drooping clusters of cymes, 5 -10 flowers per cluster. Each cluster subtended by a lingulate bract 4 “ long. Bloom in mid-to-late summer.
Fruits and seeds: Fruit rounded to egg-shaped nutlet woody, gray-green ½” long.