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October 5, 2013

To all loyal readers who may have wondered over the past few months… where is Anthropogen? his posts have been on the wane…  Please excuse my extended absence, my wife Katerina and I had a baby girl. We named her Tilia, after the genus Tilia spp., of around 30 tree species native to then Northern Hemisphere. She is now just over two months old.

Scroll down for a few photos of our new baby punctuated by a blurbs of geographic, historical and ethnobotanical information on the Tilia genus.

Below are a few photos of our daughter when she was 1-7 days old.

In English, a number of common Tilia species are referred to as Lime (not related to the Citrus), Basswood, and Linden. Interestingly, the family formerly known as Tiliaceae has now apparently merged with Malvaceae, a growing plant family that seems have absorbed a number of my other favorite plant families, including Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Tiliaceae.

Here is a cross section of the Tilia tree via

tilia cross section

The Tilia genus occurs from Europe (Tilia cordata) over to southwestern Asia ( T. platyphyllos). It is also present in eastern N. America. Tilia trees are mostly large deciduous trees growing from 20 – 40 m in height. “Lime” is an altered form of Middle English lind, in the 16th century also line, from Old English feminine lind or linde, Proto-Germanic *lendā, cognate to Latin lentus “flexible” and Sanskrit latāliana“. Within Germanic languages, English “lithe”, German lind “lenient, yielding” are from the same root.”…. “Latin tilia is cognate to Greek πτελέᾱ, ptelea, “elm tree“, τιλίαι, tiliai, “black poplar” (Hes.), ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European word *ptel-ei̯ā with a meaning of “broad” (feminine); perhaps “broad-leaved” or similar.

A few more photos of Tilia…

Medicinally, a tea can be made from the dried flowers and bracts of T. cordata and T. platyphyllos, used as a diaphoretic and mild sedative. Lime flowers are also used to treat feverish colds, cough and sore throat, also as a sedative, antispasmodic, stomachic and diuretic. The double-flowered species are used to make perfumes. The leaf buds and young leaves are also edible raw.

Another incredible cross section of the stem of a Tilia tree.

Tilia_stem cross section

Here are a few old botanical print of Tilia spp.

Reportedly, flowers of the Linden tree make exceptional bee forage and produce a very pale but richly flavored monofloral honey. The flowers are also used for tisanes and tinctures; this kind of use is particularly popular in Europe and also used in North American herbal medicine practices.

Below, Katerina and Tilia.

Tilia and Katerina

The wood of most Tilia spp. is easily worked considered a highly versatile timber. Linden trees typically have heart-shaped leaves, most have small groups of greenish-yellow scented flowers. Traditionally, court was held under a linden tree in Central Europe.

Two photos photo of Tilia displaying her long fingers.

Reportedly. in Europe, linden trees are known to have reached ages measured in centuries, if not longer. A coppice of T. cordata in Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, for example, is estimated to be 2,000 years old. In the courtyard of the Imperial Castle at Nuremberg is a Tilia which tradition says was planted by the Empress Cunigunde, the wife of Henry II of Germany. This would make the tree about 900 years old in 1900 when it was described. It looks ancient and infirm, but in 1900 was sending forth a few leaves on its two or three remaining branches and was, of course, cared for tenderly. The Tilia of Neuenstadt am Kocher in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, was computed to be 1000 years old when it fell.The Alte Linde tree of Naters, Switzerland, is mentioned in a document in 1357 and described by the writer at that time as already magnam (huge). A plaque at its foot mentions that in 1155 a linden tree was already on this spot.

Tilia at the park

20 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2013 10:08:57 am

    Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing Tilia, on both counts,

    • October 5, 2013 10:08:31 pm

      Thanks. I’ll keep trying to dig up info on the tree and write some follow up posts.

  2. October 5, 2013 10:08:19 am

    Very cool being a father. I have a 9 month old and it is the greatest joy God could have given me. Thanks for your lead a few months back on the Luma Apiculata! I found a seedling under an old Luma in the Washington Arboretum here in Seattle and it is growing quickly. Apparently it must re-seed like crazy because there were tons of seedlings coming up under that old tree. There were also some Gualtheria Mucronata seedlings there but they did not transplant well.

    • October 5, 2013 10:08:29 pm

      Great to hear you’ve found seedlings. You can probably keep visiting the same tree when you need more. Just out of curiosity, how big was the tree in the Washington arboretum? How cold does it get there. My Luma apiculata are bearing fruit now, the size of a medium blueberry, tastes like a cross between myrtle and blueberry. Very good. I’m surprised they’re not more common.

      • October 7, 2013 10:08:33 pm

        The tree here was probably 8-10″ diam at the trunk. Maybe more. It was growing with 3-4 large scaffolding branches That where all very large. Almost more like a cross between a bush and tree in form. The branches came off and then dipped back down almost to the ground. Almost looked like it was looking for light but still very happy growing in deep shade surrounded by huge trees. Cannot imagine it gets any light to speak of. It was hard to get to the seedlings because they were under the giant drooping branches sitting a few feet off the ground where most of the foliage is. We are zone 8 typically but we have had a few single digit nights in the last 10 years since I lived in my house. I never worried about cold nights before gardening but now i dread them:). My fejoas and Ugni Molinae plants I worry about the most. Arbutus compacta as well might not like it that cold but they have only seen the upper teens last year. That is much more typical. We’ll see what happens.

  3. October 5, 2013 10:08:28 am

    Many congratulations to you both,and thanks for such a joyful post. A lovely name for your daughter. I don’t know about its benefits, but lime-flower tea is a wonderful fragrant drink, and the honey too is delicious.

    • October 5, 2013 10:08:33 pm

      Do you see the Tilia tree where you are in S. France? Seems like it would be a great climate in areas where there’s enough of a cold snap in winter.

  4. October 5, 2013 10:08:13 pm

    this is why I love anthropogen, its informative, life affirming and unusual. Congratulations!

  5. October 5, 2013 10:08:56 pm


  6. October 5, 2013 10:08:57 pm

    She’s absolutely beautiful. Congratulations and bravo to your lovely wife!

    • October 5, 2013 10:08:19 pm

      Thank you! I imagine the photos I post here will now start to find a balance between baby growing up and plants… Stay tuned…

  7. October 5, 2013 10:08:20 pm

    A single shining act of hope for the future, producing a gorgeous new baby girl and giving her a name that echoes through the ages. So proud of you both! Welcome to the rollercoaster of the real world :). Tilia is absolutely beautiful and aside from those amazingly long fingers (all the better to help dad with the plants), she has beautifully wise eyes 🙂

  8. October 5, 2013 10:08:07 pm

    Congratulations! Savor every moment, it does move quickly. Mine are now 16 and 13, and all of the cliches about it “seeming like yesterday they were small” are completely accurate.

    • October 10, 2013 10:08:44 pm

      Thank you Barry. At times I find myself wishing she would never grow up, and sometimes I can’t wait until she can run… Hey, how are your Sterculia seedlings doing?

      • October 10, 2013 10:08:15 pm

        Here’s a nice one:
        Sterculia africana Kenya

        I have a few larger ones, and a lot of smaller on ones. I have the larger ones potted up in 1. gal., the smaller ones in common pots. I’ll plant some out in the spring. It’s been a very, very wet summer, I’ve lost a few things that simply couldn’t handle the continuous onslaught.

        • October 10, 2013 10:08:16 pm

          The smaller ones (two pots like this):

          I’ll take some down to Montgomery Botanical Center and some out to Flamingo Gardens as well.

  9. jaksichja permalink
    October 6, 2013 10:08:29 pm

    Congratulations to you and your wife!

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