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Tree to 30 m × 1.5 m dbh. Bark dark grey; wide flat-topped ridges develop in maturity. Twigs densely covered in grey and red-brown stellate hairs. Buds with one main scale and another just visible, with brown and grey tomentum. Leaves 7.5–12.5 × 7–12 cm, suborbicular, on stalks with white stellate hairs; dark green above, grey-green beneath with moderately sparse stellate hairs (4–12 arms, 8 being the commonest number); almost glabrous in some trees (var. yesoana); tufts of brown axillary hairs are usually visible. Marginal teeth long, triangular, with short apiculate tips (0.2–1 mm). Floral bracts 7.5–12.5 × 1.1–2.5 cm, with dense white hairs on their veins. Inflorescence drooping, with 15–20 flowers. Flowers cup-shaped, strongly scented; staminodes present. Fruit rounded, 9-10 × 7–8 mm, weakly ribbed, mamillate; fruit-wall tomentose and quite fragile (Pigott 2012).
Distribution Japan Hokkaido; N Honshu
Habitat Mountain woodlands
USDA Hardiness Zone 5
RHS Hardiness Rating H6
Tilia maximowicziana was introduced to Kew from the Arnold Arboretum, Massachusetts, in 1890 (Bean 1914). It has grown well all across Britain, where most specimens show a beautifully grey-felted underleaf which seems to represent the downy end of the spectrum of states described from the wild; the almost hairless var. yesoana was introduced by Sir Henry Elwes to Colesbourne Park in Gloucestershire in 1905 (Elwes & Henry 1906–1913), but this tree has long gone [ARE ANY OTHERS KNOWN?]. Contemporary specimens [OF THE TYPE?] include a parkland tree at Hergest Croft, Herefordshire, 19 m × 72 cm dbh in 2013, a planting from the 1950s arboretum at Bute Park in Cardiff which was 22 m × 67 cm dbh in 2013, and one of 23 m × 56 cm dbh in the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland at Glasnevin, Dublin, in 2012 (Tree Register 2018). A crowded but otherwise happy woodland tree 13 m tall was growing as far north as the Tannadyce estate in Angus in 2018 (Tree Register 2018).
SPECIMENS IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA