Linden or Lime Tree

Some lime trees among the vegetation of Villa Crivelli Pusterla in Limbiate
Some lime trees among the vegetation of Villa Crivelli Pusterla in Limbiate (ISAL Photo Archive ISAL, photograph by Anna Zaffaroni)


Limes are observable in the avenues that border the former psychiatric hospital built in the grounds of Villa Crivelli Pusterla of Limbiate. These are often placed in long regular rows that sometimes alternate with exotic palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) with fibrous stalks and leathery fan leaves. It is one of the main deciduous tree species present in what remains of the ancient garden of the aristocratic country residence. The towering tree was definitely planted in this park for the abundant shade produced by its crown dome and the sweet and intoxicating scent of its flowers, source of nectar for bees for most of the summer.

Anyone stopping to observe the plant, will be pleasantly charmed by its flowers that hang in stalks with seven to eight floral elements on the same stalk carried by long, light green, leaf-like bracts. They contain a mucilaginous substance and essential oils, which when dried in the shade, are used to prepare soothing, emollient and diuretic herbal teas. The globular fruits do not have any hair and hang from bracts; once mature they use these bracts to be dispersed by the wind. From this, the name Tilia, derived from the Greek word ptilon, (wing, light feather) recalls the characteristic of the bract bearing the inflorescences, being swayed and transported by the wind.
The heart-shaped leaves have an intense green colour on the top surface of the leaf that has a serrated outline and often slightly asymmetrical; at the bottom of the leaf are tufts of orange hair in the bifurcation of the nerves. They are often shiny and sticky from the sugary excrement (honeydew) secreted by the aphids.
The foliage of the lime present in this park recalls the pleasant contrast with the dark green of the evergreen magnolias and yews inside the gardens of other noble villas belonging to the system of aristocratic villas in Lombardy, including those of Villa Cusani Tittoni Traversi in Desio.
The linden tree is a very decorative and imposing tree that belongs to the Tiliaceae family; in the past, it was chosen as a tree species of great importance in the gardens of country residences of Lombardy and reserved for the most powerful men. For this reason, having lime trees in their garden was in some way a reference to this ancient tradition of affirming the power and prestige achieved by his family.
The numerous linden trees present in city parks and country residences is also due to its ability to resist heat, drought and pollution.