Features and characters of the individual
Facts and stories
Lime trees are symbols of longevity wherever they are planted: from the middle of the countryside to urban parks like this. These trees can live for more than 100 years! They are the definition of a hardy tree.
Ever since the French Revolution, lime trees have also symbolised freedom. They are often planted to leave a lasting mark in history. When they are located in the centre of a village, at the entrance of a town, or next to a church, they serve as a reminder of important events.
In the city, these witnesses of the past are also our allies in alleviating the effects of climate change at a local level.
Did you know?
Trees aren’t always stuck in one place… Lime trees are a good example of species that know a thing or two about mobility.
Their seeds are especially adapted for being carried away by the wind. Each seed has a kind of sail attached to it, which is called a bract. These bracts are very lightweight leaves that enable seeds to fly great distances like mini helicopters. Autumn breezes make them swirl around and disperse over several hundred metres—sometimes even kilometres!
The benefits of silver lime trees
Silver lime trees are extremely beautiful. They are planted in towns and cities as decoration in parks, on roundabouts, in squares, or along streets to create beautiful tree-lined avenues.
This species is also a champion when it comes to combatting urban pollution. Its leaves are slightly hairy and are particularly efficient at capturing fine particles in the air released by traffic, boilers and various industries. The more they capture, the less ends up in our lungs! And what’s more: not only do they purify the air that we breathe, but they also give it a pleasant scent in springtime that wafts around whole neighbourhoods.
Lastly, the huge foliage helps to regulate the surrounding climate, having a cooling, humidifying effect on the air in summer and slowing down cold winds in winter.
How to recognise a silver lime tree
Large (5–10cm), heart-shaped (cordate), with serrated edges; fall from the tree in autumn (deciduous)
Dark green upper side in spring with felty silvery-white hairs on the underside; deep yellow in autumn; and no foliage in winter
Winged, small and sphere-shaped, with 4–5 lines (capsules)
Creamy white to pale yellow, very fragrant, numerous in June and July
Specifics about this lime tree
This silver lime tree is monumental in its size. It has the typical silhouette of a lime tree in the open countryside, as it was fortunate enough to grow to maturity without competition from other trees. This means that its crown* has been able to grow like a huge fan: ample, majestic, spread out and well balanced. Its silvery colouring reflects light spectacularly, especially in full sunlight. There’s no doubt that this tree is the star of this corner.
Seen from a distance, the tree’s trunk looks a little too thin to support such a large ‘head’; as you get closer though, you realise that it has powerful roots that extend into the ground in all directions to anchor the tree in place. The root network underground is probably the same size as the tree above-ground.
*the term crown encompasses the tree’s branches and leaves above the main trunk
(Story and photos created by Priscille Cazin https://www.sylvolutions.eu)
This portrait is:
- Enriched with an illustration from the Belgian Federal State Collection on permanent loan to the Meise Botanical Garden.
- An initiative of Christos Doulkeridis, Mayor of Ixelles , Audrey Lhoest, portfolio holder for Environment, Green Spaces and Planting, and Tourism and the Ixelles Communal executive