The lime tree is one of the main deciduous tree species present in what remains of the English landscaped park of Villa Cusani Tittoni Traversi in Desio. The towering tree was definitely planted in this park for the abundant shade produced by its dome-like crown and the sweet and intoxicating scent of its flowers, a source of nectar for bees for most of the summer.
The globular fruits do not have any hairs and hang from bracts; once mature the use of these bracts is to be dispersed by the wind. From this, the name Tilia derived from the Greek word ptilon (wing, light feather) which recalls the characteristic bract that supports the bud.
The heart-shaped leaves are alternate, with serrated outlines, often slightly asymmetrical, deep green in colour on the upper surface, with tufts of orange hair in the forks of the ribs on the underside. They are often made shiny and sticky by the sugary excrement (honeydew) expelled by aphids.
In this garden, the linden foliage creates a pleasant chromatic contrast with the dark green colour of the magnolias and the evergreen yews, confirming the custom of aristocratic villas of Lombardy as evidenced by the avenues that line the grounds that was once the location of the Villa Crivelli Pusterla at Limbiate where lime trees alternate with exotic palm trees (Trachycarpus fortunei) with fibrous stalks and leathery fan-like leaves.
The linden is a very decorative and imposing tree from the Tiliaceae family; in the past, it was chosen as the tree species of great importance in the gardens of country residences in Brianza and reserved for the most powerful and rich men who lived in castles or palaces. Hence the lime had great importance, intended as a symbol of justice and as a plant protector of a dynasty: for this reason, an avenue lined with lime trees, usually announces the presence of a fortress or a villa.
It is still possible to find lime trees in the gardens of grand Lombard villas or in many urban parks because of their ability to resist heat, drought and pollution, as long as they have enough room to grow. Red claw-like growths are often noticed on the leaves; these are commonly called galls, bumps caused by insects that feed on the sap of the plant.