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Linden Tilia uses: browse, carving

 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Who here as eaten Tilia leaves, either T. cordata or T. platyphylla? Are they pleasant or starvation food? Over what season are they palatable? Anyone actually browsed livestock on this tree? Any comments as to value? Just for roughage?

I understand it coppices well, produces a tea in the flowers and provides good bee forage, so I am already curious.
 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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I have eaten the leaves, I'm not certain which species it was, it's planted as a shade tree in a nearby city. We harvested a good amount of it and used it for salads, it's quite nice, with a good fresh flavor. I'm not a fan of lettuce or other 'standard' salad greens, but I really liked these, and our 3 year old got ahold of the jar and ate them all. They are definitely not 'starvation food'. I'm not sure what season they'd be palatable, I think I've heard Eric Toeinsmeier say through July/August but I don't know from first hand experience. I sowed seed from cordata and platyphyllos in the early fall, so hopefully I'll have some seedlings to plant out come spring. We also have Tilia americana growing on site, so I'll be coppicing soon and experimenting with it's edibility.

Other good uses are it's soft, sculptable wood (preferred by woodcarvers, and good for bow-drills), and it's bast fiber.

peace
 
Jose Reymondez
Posts: 137
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
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Tilia cordata needs 13 weeks of warm stratification and 26 of cold.

Tilia platyphyllos needs 26 of warm and 26 fo cold.

Not sure if fresh seeds are different.
 
Mary Saunders
Posts: 92
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I ate a few. They are pretty good. I don't know which one mine is. It was supposed to be a dwarf. It was in a pot for years, so I thought it would be safe to plant it out. It quickly got too big, but I had some years with the flowers, which smell really good. They it had to be taken down. It is a problem here in Oregon that things that are dwarf somewhere else forget all about it when planted here with all our rain.

The tree had babies before it was harvested. Marisha Auerbach harvested some of the baby leaves for a class she was teaching, so they passed muster. I can't remember the full title of Martin Crawford's book about forest gardens, but he discusses tilia.
 
R Laurance
Posts: 25
Location: Southern Sweden (zone 7a)
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I generally eat the leaves of our Large-Leafed Linden (Tilia platyphyllos) during the early part of the growing season when the leaves are smaller and more tender. I personally like their flavor as others do, as well. Ours is a wonderful tree in size offering up lots of leaves for food and tea, our rabbits loved them as well, and lots of wood pruned off every two or three years. The wood, as osker mentioned, is a favored wood (easy carving) among wood carvers. Most wood workers that I know, tend to call this Basswood, though I still prefer to call it the Linden, mostly because here in Sweden the Swedish name for it is Lind. I believe it is called lime, in Great Britain. It is a tree that seems to coppice easily also.

My tree (approx. 30+ meters tall) is also the location of the owl house (middle of the tree in picture) I built that is the nesting box for our little Tawny Owl. Mating season should begin this month for her as she will begin hooting within a week or so.

 
David Goodman
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Location: Zone 9a/8b
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Ditto on the wood carving. I've carved it and it's amazing.

Down here in Florida it's not usually a very big tree, but it's here and there around my neighborhood. I ate some of the leaves last fall when they were a bit tough. Still not bad. I'm planning on taking cuttings and incorporating a few into my yard.

 
Lance Kleckner
Posts: 114
Location: West Iowa
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The native one that grows wild around here is Tilia americana which would be similar in edibility as the European ones you listed. Takes well to coppicing, and I eat the young leaves, the goats love them, too. I dry a lot of the young leaves too, grind them up and use it as some healthy green garnish in things like soup, pasta, potatoes, etc.

Video of my goat like habits included me grazing on these.
Tilia eating
 
Cohan Fulford
Posts: 79
Location: West Central Alberta, Canada
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Hi all! We have a Tilia cordata planted by my mom some time ago (15-20 yrs?).Apparently it's marginally hardy in Alberta, but it's doing nicely here on our quite sheltered property, nestled about against fairly large wild spruce, Picea glauca. It's a small multi-stemmed tree so far (really hoping it stays small, because of it's location near the house- the last thing I want is more shade) maybe 20 feet tall, with the largest trunk around 4-5' at the base.
Very interested to know the leaves are edible! I knew about tea from the flowers, but haven't tried it yet..
I haven't looked at the seeds closely- do they need cleaning/hulling, or just sow what's there? (I haven't noticed any seedlings, so it's possible it isn't making viable seed..).
I'm also wondering about cuttings- any particular season and type of cutting that works best? I'm pretty new to woody cuttings, but really like this tree- our property has lots of native aspen, balsam poplar, white spruce, black spruce (P mariana), and paper birch, as well as good sized wild Amelanchier alnifolia (saskatoon/serviceberry) and exotic things like lilacs, crab/apples, small cherries etc, but few exotic trees (some seedlings, though!), and this has a shape unlike any of the natives, so I'd like to have some more!
 
Rosalind Riley
Posts: 70
Location: Kent, South-east England, UK
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This tree is indeed called the Lime tree in the UK. Very famous as an avenue tree and for dropping sticky nectar on cars when it's planted along pavements (ie sidewalks). The young leaves are tasty - pick them young - but I think this is its most famous use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grinling_Gibbons.

Definitely good for goats and I our sheep eat them too. Because the trees throw out a lot of suckers near the base or from bosses on the trunk, it's easy to harvest/browse even from a large tree.

I have mistletoe growing on one of mine.

ER x
 
Milan Broz
Posts: 87
Location: Croatia
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I've tried it last year, however it was quite late when I discovered it is edible, so leaves were a bit old, but it was still quite pleasant. I couldn't say lettuce is much more edible then linden trees. This year I plan to grow some. As I notice, below old tree there are a lot of seedlings in my garden, so now I will not pull them out but coppice them, and treat it as a shrub crop.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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They are nice. They are mucilaginous, so a little bit 'slimy'. I only eat them up to about July. Mostly I harvest the blossom - just before most of the flowers open - as one of the most useful herbal medicines. It is used as a relaxant, a nerve tonic, and to treat headache and especially fever. You can store it dried or in tincture form.
 
dave brenneman
Posts: 38
Location: london, england
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Paul Cereghino wrote:Who here as eaten Tilia leaves, either T. cordata or T. platyphylla? Are they pleasant or starvation food? Over what season are they palatable? Anyone actually browsed livestock on this tree? Any comments as to value? Just for roughage?

I understand it coppices well, produces a tea in the flowers and provides good bee forage, so I am already curious.


I've eaten the leaves; it was late spring/early summer. I agree that they're a bit "mucilaginous", much closer to spinach than lettuce. I'd probably mix other things in with my salad. I am certain they'll coppice well, as any of the ones around here that have been trimmed have loads of little saplings springing up from the stub of the branch.
 
Carsten de Duurzame
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I want to plant some lime trees for the leaves and pollard them so I can reach the leaves. I don't have a huge space, and I don't want to poke my eye out, so I'm wondering what diameter the crown gets when cutting them each year?

 
Lucia Moreno
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I forage the flowers with their little wing and dry them as a medicinal herb. Good for calming down in stressful situations, as well as a good digestive system helper. It ia also very loved by bees.

Cheers,
Lucía
 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 1925
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I have been eating them since I saw it listed in Eric Toensmeier's "Perennial Vegetables". He preferred Tilia cordata, so that's what I bought. I like them. They can be a bit fibrous during say, July 15 on. I like a variety of green leafy vegetables, so it's a real bonus for me to easily grow an abundance of better than organic vegetables for free every year with no effort. This year I'm going to try to ferment them to see what they'll be like.
John S
PDX OR
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Also worth mentioning that tilia cordata is the best smelling by far when it flowers. I think the quantity of flowers is still about the same.
 
Terry Paul Calhoun
Posts: 29
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
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We harvested some fresh leaves here a couple of days ago and they made a delicious salad. Our first time. We're getting more today. The power company coppiced a bunch of them along our west property line last year and the new branches sprouting up are very easy to harvest a bunch from quickly.
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 196
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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I have been snacking on the leaves as I go about my property. I noticed that the smaller leaves tasted very much like peas!
 
John Saltveit
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Posts: 1925
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Just so you know, I pruned mine so it wouldn't get too tall (Tilia cordata). With the prunings, I made cuttings and planted them in the fall. Several of them have grown into small plants. Some of my area neighbors had asked me to see if I could make plants from prunings>cuttings. I didn't know then, but now I now that it isn't particularly difficult. It's also supposed to be a spectacular bee attraction/pollination plant. Also not related closely to most fruit trees, so good biodiversity in the food forest.
JOhn S
PDX OR
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1573
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Linden is spectacular bee forage... the lime honey we get is really interesting... a delicate almost peppery flavour. They work the trees flat out for almost two weeks straight and you can hear them roaring with bees.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Green Deane, has a great video here, at his 'Eat the Weeds" youtube channel. He mentions that the seeds can be ground to make a chocolate substitute!

 
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