Linden trees are commonly planted alongside roads of new subdivisions. They are a popular urban choice because they thrive in harsh conditions. That was how I was first introduced to linden trees. They were planted, side by side, along a crescent road near my neighbourhood. Every late June or early July, my running routine would change from running in a giant grid to repeating laps up and down the linden-lined crescent. I wanted to smell the scent of the tiny linden flowers as they bloomed for that one week. An ephemeral time that I associate with clearing my mind.
It was many years later when I finally figured out the name of the trees. At the lake, I came across a man high up on a ladder, picking the flowers and leaves of a tree in his yard. He explained to us that he was picking them to make tea. A tea that he has enjoyed since he was a boy growing up in Poland. It was this man who gave me the common name and introduced me to the seasonal habit of foraging the blossoms. Also called little-leaf linden or Tilia cordata, these ornamental trees are found in Europe and North America.
Lindens have been reported to bring about a whole host of health benefits including reducing insomnia, lowering blood pressure and aiding in digestion.* What I was most interested in though, was the stories behind the tree. For instance, in Latvia, a linden tree is planted when a girl is born (oak tree for boys) to bring about strength and protection. In England, the linden tree is known as a lime tree. Though it bears no resemblance to limes, the translation of the Polish name Święta Lipka is “Holy Lime”. Its presence is thought to protect against bad luck and repels evil spirits. “In Slavic mythology the Linden (Lipa) is a Holy tree, and many towns and villages are named for it. It also lends its name to the months of June (Croatia) and July (Poland) respectively, and is apparently the root of the name for the city of Leipzig in Germany.”**Read More