Tilia tomentosa

Silver Linden




  • native to western Asia
  • hardy to zone 5

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous tree
  • typically 30' to 40' tall
  • suckers
  • upright growth form
  • coarse texture
  • fast growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • deciduous, simple leaves
  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • suborbicular
  • 2" to 5" long
  • equally as wide
  • cordate leaf base
  • sharp, doubly serrated margins
  • new growth is pubescent and underside is tomentose
  • dark green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow or yellow-green
  • not showy


  • small, individual flowers in loose drooping clusters, 7 to 10 flowers
  • flower clusters with a leaf-like bract
  • bract is 1.5" to 2.5" long
  • light yellow or creamy flower color
  • blooms in late June and early July
  • fragrant
  • bees are attracted to the flowers


  • small round nutlet 0.2" to 0.3" in diameter
  • egg-shaped and pointed
  • white color; pubescent
  • somewhat warty
  • slightly ornamental in late summer


  • light gray bark color
  • pubescent stems
  • smooth


  • full sun to light shade
  • easily transplanted
  • prefers moist, deep, fertile, well-drained soils
  • tolerant of difficult growing sites and soils
  • urban tolerant
  • pollution tolerant
  • very pH adaptable
  • tolerates hedging well
  • heat and drought tolerant

Landscape Uses

  • shade tree
  • lawn tree
  • street tree
  • urban locations
  • as a large hedge
  • city malls and plantings
  • for formal habit, regularity and symmetry


  • attracts bees when in bloom
  • Japanese beetles
  • aphids
  • sooty mold

ID Features

  • greenish-red to brown bud color, 0.25" long and pubescent
  • egg-shaped, pointed fruit
  • pubescent stems
  • leaf underside tomentose


  • by seed
  • cultivars mostly by bud grafting or cuttings


'Sashazam' (Satin Shadow™) - A new selection, the uniform symmetrical growth of this plant may make it suitable for use as a street or lawn tree. It is a broad-pyramidal grower to 50' tall with a spread of 40'. The leaves are very attractive in summer, as the wind causes them to shimmer and reveal their silvery undersides. Early reports indicate resistance to beetle damage and disease.

'Sterling Silver' (also listed as 'Sterling') - This is a neat, large-growing tree that reaches 90' tall with a dense crown and ascending branches. The foliage offers great interest, as the leaves emerge silvery and retain their blue-silver undersides all season. It is a tolerant tree that resists Japanese beetle, gypsy moth and pollution.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.