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Small-leaved lime (SLI)

Tilia cordata

Home Trees Small-leaved lime (SLI)

Native range

Native to England and Wales and to central and western Europe.

Provenance Choice

No provenance trials have been undertaken in Britain and production of seed is intermittent in this country, so plants should either be of local origin or sourced from stands of good form in this country or in west Europe.

Site Requirements

This is a shade tolerant species which can reach a large size on suitable soils, is cold hardy, and is both drought and frost resistant, but does not tolerate exposure. It grows best on soils of fresh to moist nutrient status and medium to rich soil nutrient regime, and will grow on alkaline sites provided adequate soil moisture is available. It is not suitable for peat soils or for very dry or nutrient poor sites. It is often found in mixture with other broadleaves or in small pure stands.

Pests and Pathogens

Mature trees can suffer root killing and bleeding cankers caused by Phytophthora. Vertillium wilt is infrequent but can be fatal. Sap-sucking insects are common and produce copious honeydew when feeding on foliage.


Since the current distribution of the species is thought to be limited by cool summers which prevent successful seed development, a warming climate should benefit the species and allow it to grow satisfactorily on lowland sites in southern and eastern Scotland.

Small-leaved lime is categorised as a Plot-stage species. These are species that have not been planted on any significant scale but have demonstrated silvicultural characteristics in trial plots and have qualities suitable for forestry objectives to justify further testing and development.