lime in winter

Above: bare of leaves
in the early months of the
year,and below: in its
summer glory.

lime in summer

Trees of London

St Paul's


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              The lime tree is a very popular urban tree, if not the most popular one. It comes in many varieties, but the most common are the native small-leaved and large leaved limes, and this one, the common lime, a hybrid of the other two and most common version, especially in cities. The lime tree has nothing to do with the lime fruit, which comes from a type of citrus fruit tree.

                It is rare when the lime tree is allowed to grow to its full height, like this one, and this is why this is such a good example; it is most commonly hacked away at.

              The lime does have some messy characteristics. One is that it has a tendency to have messy shoots crowing at its base and where branches have fallen off. This often makes it look clumsy. The other misfortune the lime has is that it is a popular habitat for aphids, a type of insect, which have the anti-social characteristic of giving off a gooey nectar, which collects underneath and on anything which is left there for any length of time; it is therefore a bad idea to put a bench in the shade of a lime tree, because it won't be too pleasant to sit on.

              Grinling Gibbons, the Dutch sculptor, used the wood from lime trees to carve the quire stalls which are inside the great church.

Quire stalls

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Other Trees at St Paul's

beech      walnut     alder

elm     strawberry

St Paul's

Tree Identification

tilia x europaea:

alternate; veins: opposite; round to heart shaped.

limr leaf
Lime pods

nuts/fruit: round, light green/white, quite small; hang down in clusters of three to four; accompanied by blade like wings.

lime tree flowers

not conspicuous; yellow/white; hang in clusters; June/July

brown with marked vertical ridges.
Lime bark
shape: to 35metres tall, relatively thin.
general: often has shoots growing at its base, and is sticky because of the insects it attracts. Lime shoots

There are many in the churchyard
and in the streets surrounding it.
The one photographed is just east of the
north transept of the cathedral.
Marked in red on map.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©