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Gerard's Herbal Vol. 5

Gerard's Herbal - CHAP. 117. Of the Lime or Linden Tree.

CHAP. 117. Of the Lime or Linden Tree.


Fig. 2076. Female Lime (1)

Fig. 2077. Male Lime (2)


The Description.

1. The Female Lime or Linden tree waxeth very great and thick, spreading forth his branches wide and far abroad, being a tree which yieldeth a most pleasant shadow, under and within whose boughs may be made brave summer houses and banqueting arbors, because the more that it is surcharged with weight of timber and such like, the better it doth flourish. The bark is brownish, very smooth, and plain on the outside, but that which is next to the timber is white, moist and tough, serving very well for ropes, traces, and halters. The timber is whitish, plain and without knots, yet very soft and gentle in the cutting or handling. Better gunpowder is made of the coals of this wood than of Willow coals. The leaves are green, smooth, shining and large, somewhat snipped or toothed about the edges: the flowers are little, whitish, of a good savour, and very many in number, growing clustering together from out of the middle of the leaf: out of which proceedeth a small whitish long narrow leaf: after the flowers succeed cornered sharp pointed nuts, of the bigness of Hazel nuts. This tree seemeth to be a kind of Elm, and the people of Essex about Hedingham (wheras great plenty groweth by the waysides) do call it broad-Leaved Elm.

2. The Female Tilia or Lime tree groweth also very great and thick, spreading itself far abroad like the other Linden tree: his bark is very tough and pliant, and serveth to make cords and halters of. The timber of this tree is much harder, more knotty, and more yellow than the timber of the other, not much differing from the timber of the Elm tree: the leaves hereof are not much unlike Ivy leaves, not very green, somewhat snipped about the edges: from the middle whereof come forth clusters of little white flowers like the former: which being faded, there succeed small round pellets, growing clustering together, like Ivy berries, within which is contained a little round blackish seed, which falleth out when the berry is ripe.

The Place.

The Female Linden tree groweth in some woods in Northamptonshire; also near Colchester, and in many places alongst the high way leading from London to Hedingham, in the county of Essex.

The male Linden tree groweth in my Lord Treasurer's garden at the Strand, and in sundry other places, as at Barn Elms, and in a garden at Saint Katherine's near London. Thus our author: the female grows in the places here named, but I have not yet observed the male.

The Time

These trees flower in May, and their fruit is ripe in August.

The Names.

The Linden tree is called in Greek Philyra: in Latin, Tilia, in High Dutch, Linden, and Lindenbaum: in Low Dutch, Linde, and Lindenboom: the Italians, Tilia: the Spaniards, Teia: in French, Tilet and Tilieul: in English, Linden tree, and Lime tree.

The Temperature.

The bark and leaves of the Linden or Lime tree, are of a temperate heat, somewhat drying and astringent.

The Virtues.

A. The leaves of Tilia boiled in smith's water with a piece of alum and a little honey, cure the sores in children's mouths.

B. The leaves boiled until they be tender, and pounded very small with hog's grease, and the powder of fenugreek and linseed, take away hot swellings and bring impostumes to maturation, being applied thereto very hot.

C. The flowers are commended by divers against pain of the head proceeding of a cold cause: against dizziness, the apoplexy, and also the falling sickness, and not only the flowers, but the distilled water thereof.

D. The leaves of the Linden (saith Theophrastus) are very sweet, and be a fodder for most kind of cattle: the fruit can be eaten of none.

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