The Silver Lime, from south-east Europe, is particularly attractive when the wind rustles the leaves, revealing the silvery undersides. In full flower, the heady scent saturates the summer air. The flowers are rich in nectar, and honeybees working them make a pale-green honey that tastes minty. Leaves of all Tilia species are asymmetrical at the base, with one side extending further down the stalk than the other.
The European Lime (Tilia europaea) standing to the south of the Main Gate was planted in November 1846 by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge to mark the opening of the ‘new’ Botanic Garden. Its leaf has become the Garden’s logo.
Lime trees were formerly in their own family (Tiliaceae), but DNA evidence shows that they belong to the Mallow family (Malvaceae). This family includes many herbs and shrubs, including Hibiscus, Cotton (Gossypium), and trees such as Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) and Kola (genus Cola).