Tilia insularis Nakai

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Tilia insularis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/tilia/tilia-insularis/). Accessed 2019-12-09.



Reduced leaf often subtending flower or inflorescence.
Heart-shaped (i.e. with two equal lobes at the base).
Branched determinate inflorescence with a flower at the end of each branch. cymose In the form of a cyme.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Flower-bearing part of a plant; arrangement of flowers on the floral axis.
Section of stem between two nodes.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Lacking a stem or stalk.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Tilia insularis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/tilia/tilia-insularis/). Accessed 2019-12-09.

A deciduous tree 40 to 80 ft high in the wild, with a grey-barked trunk 1 to 3 ft in diameter; young shoots glabrous or sparsely hairy. Leaves of firm texture, roundish ovate, sometimes almost kidney-shaped, coarsely toothed, rounded or shortly pointed, heart-shaped at the base, 2 to 312 in. long, usually as wide or even wider than long, glabrous except for tufts of pale down in the vein-axils; stalk 1 to 112 in. long. Flowers 12 in. wide, numerous on the cyme, borne on slender stalks, the bract 112 to 212 in. long, 12 in. or more wide, not downy. The whole inflorescence is 3 to 4 in. long; fruits obovoid, 316in. long.

Native of Korea on Daghelet Island (Cheju Do), whence it was introduced by Wilson in 1919. It is allied to T. cordata and flowers at about the same time, differing in the coarser acuminately tipped teeth, sometimes enlarged into a lobule when terminating a main lateral nerve, in the regular presence of staminodes in the flowers, and in the long-stalked pendulous inflorescences 2 to 3 in. across, with up to thirty-six flowers in each. A charming small tree, which deserves to be more widely planted. It is, however, uncommon in cultivation, the largest examples being: Kew, pl. 1928, 38 × 214 ft (1967); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, 33 × 212 ft (1970); Westonbirt, Glos., Pool, 50 × 212 ft (1970); Thorp Perrow, Yorks, 42 × 212 ft (1974).

T. insularis is scarcely more than a local race of the following, described earlier:

T. japonica (Miq.) Simonkai T. cordata var. japonica Miq. – As in the preceding, the inflorescences are many-flowered and pendulous, and the flowers have staminodes; the bracts are usually long-stalked. Leaves more or less orbicular in outline, not lobulate, up to 3 in. long, cordate. It is uncertain if the true species is in cultivation. A tree at Borde Hill, planted as T. japonica, has ovate leaves, mostly with a narrow lobule on one side, inflorescences with up to only ten flowers, not pendulous; bracts sessile or short-stalked. It is perhaps referable to T. amurensis Rupr., a native of Amurland, N. Korea, etc., and thus a near neighbour of T. japonica, which extends from Japan to E. China. The Borde Hill tree, whatever its correct name, is one of the most ornamental of the limes, with a conical, densely leafy crown, and flowering from almost every node in some years. The bright green young leaves appear early in the spring but are not damaged by frost. The tree was planted in about 1910 and measures 43 × 412 ft (1968).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, pl. 1928, 50 × 314 ft (1985); Westonbirt, Glos., Pool, 56 × 234 ft (1980); Thorp Perrow, Bedale, Yorks., 64 × 334 ft (1981); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, 52 × 3 ft (1985).

T. japonica – The tree at Borde Hill mentioned on page 601 measures 60 × 512 ft (1984).


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