Bearded lime tree?

ginny12January 25, 2014

A European friend mentioned having "bearded lime trees" in his very old garden. They long pre-date his time on the property. I have never heard of bearded lime trees and don't see anything on Google. Anyone have any idea what these are?

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I have a feeling it was just a mispronunciation of Bearss lime, aka Persian lime or Citrus x latifolia. This is the most common type of lime grown and the ones typically found in grocery stores. Not going to be hardy except in the warmest zones, like zone 10 and above.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:47PM
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That's possible but I'm not so sure. He wrote the name down and is a very experienced gardener. Oh, those common names.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:57PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

You might ask in the Citrus Forum, and see if anyone has any other ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus Forum

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:23PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm tempted to think that Tilia rather than citrus are the trees in question? Still not much help, though. Tilia tomentosa?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:40PM
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arbordave (SE MI)

I think rhizo solved this one. In Britain (and perhaps other countries in Europe?) lindens are called "limes", and "bearded" probably signifies "hairy".

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 5:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Exactly! :-)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:59PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes, somebody from Europe might be talking about Tilia. Doesn't explain the bearded though, unless it was a translation of a botanical term. Still not apparent what particular tree that would be, however.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 9:53PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

A 'European' friend .... Somebody from 'Europe' .....

There are around 50 countries in Europe with climates ranging from Arctic via Continental to Mediterranean. If we had a more specific location than 'Europe' we would have a better idea of whether this a Tilia or a citrus. Citrus limes could only grow in a very few favoured places around the Mediterranean.

Furthermore, there are about 225 indigenous languages and 23 official ones in the EU alone. In majority English-speaking areas i.e. the British Isles, Tilia are called limes but that is only a tiny proportion of Europe. Elsewhere they are called by names in the language of that country or region. It would be useful to know the mother tongue of the informant and whether this name is a result of Google translator.

It would be really good if some US posters didn't lump the whole huge and multifarious region together under the label 'Europe'.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:51PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Europe as opposed to the United States - pretty much nobody here will be in the habit of calling Tilia "lime" whereas somebody from Britain or Northern Europe could very well be. That not everyone throughout Europe would be using the term is irrelevant.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:44PM
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The mystery is solved. I was able to get in touch with my friend. He said a bearded lime tree is Tilia cordata grown with a main trunk but partly coppiced. A "beard" or bush of young shoots is allowed to grow up around the main trunk.

This serves two purposes, one ornamental, the other utilitarian. The young bright green leaves are highly ornamental under the main trunk with the same leaves in spring. Then the shoots can be cut down and used for basket-weaving or other such purposes.

My friend said he did not know if the term "bearded lime tree" was a local expression or very old and not used any more. He had had an allee of such trees on his property and I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been. They were very old and most are gone now.

Thanks to all for your suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 5:05PM
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