Common lime

Common Lime


Common lime

Scientific name: Tilia x europaea
The common lime is a tall, broadleaf tree that is a natural hybrid between the Large-leaved and Small-leaved Limes. It can be seen in a variety of habitats, and has been widely planted along roads and in parks.

Species information


Height: up to 40m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The common lime is a tall, broadleaf tree that is a natural hybrid between the large-leaved and small-leaved Limes. It will tolerate a wide variety of conditions, so is commonly planted in parks and along roadsides, lining avenues with its impressive shade. Aphids feed on the leaves of the common lime, producing sticky 'dew' that drops on to anything below - cars, pavements, people... Its sweet-smelling summer flowers attract a huge number of insects looking for nectar, especially bees. It produces large-winged, nut-like fruits that disperse its seeds by the wind. Look out for red nail galls on the leaves of common lime, which, unsurprisingly, look like large red nails! They are caused by a small insect called a gall mite.

How to identify

The common lime has heart-shaped leaves; white-green, five-petalled flowers; and small, oval fruits with pointed tips. The three lime trees of the UK are difficult to tell apart. The common lime can be recognised by the abundant twiggy suckers around the base of its trunk.



Did you know?

A hybrid between the two native species of lime, the debate about whether common lime is native itself still continues. Where it appears as a natural hybrid, it can be considered 'native', but it has been widely cultivated and planted, so it can be considered 'non-native' in these situations.

How people can help

The green spaces in our towns cities can provide habitats for all kinds of wildlife and benefit us too. The Wildlife Trusts work with planners and local communities to encourage the inclusion of green space and planting within new building plans and to protect existing areas for future enjoyment. You can support this vital work by joining your local Wildlife Trust.