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Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 09:59
by Serpentia
And this forum is interested in threads on regional trees as well!


Well, under that motto poasted in the guidelines for this forum, let me be the first to address this tree that is close to my heart and soul and that is not in "the" Ogham, but without which "my" Ogham would not be complete.

Linden Trees (Tilia, basswood)
What do tree names tell us? The German name for Tilia is Linde – and the verb that goes with it, lindern, is “to soothe, to calm, to make better” – normally used in reference to illnesses and pain. Linde and Elder are the only trees in Germany where every part has medicinal value. The flowers, leaves, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the Tilia flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants), volatile oils, and mucilaginous constituents (which soothe and reduce inflammation). The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent. In Germany, Tilia flowers are used medicinally for colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. Bees love the Linden and a richly flavoured monofloral honey is produced from them.

Even more than the Oak, Linde is the typical tree of Germany. The Germanic tribes honored them as the “Tree of Life and Love” and saw their Goddess Freya in them, which may be due to the heart-shaped leaves and the sweet smell of the blossoms. They were symbols of peace and truth; the tribes held court under the Linden that was typically planted in the middle of the village. No lie, it was said, could be spoken under a Linden tree and throughout the Middle Ages, justice was spoken there.

Linden trees were considered sacred and special even by the Christian church; their wood is almost free of markings and very light, so Christian woodcarvers of the likes of the famous Tilmann Riemenschneider would carve altar pieces and statues from it. “Minnesinger” starting with Walter von der Vogelweide would often include the Linden in their songs for its sweet-smelling flowers. German literature and songs overflow with references to the Linden whenever there is need of emotion, femininity – or fey magic. In the “Nibelungenlied”, the invincible hero Siegfried has a Linden leaf stuck to his shoulder when he immerses himself in the dragon’s blood, leaving that heart-shaped space vulnerable and ultimately leading to his death. More practical, the bast scraped from young shoots makes a very strong fibre that could be used to weave clothing or for household and farm applications.

For ages before urbanization set in, Linden trees were the places the community met to talk, dance and play. For this reason, “Linde” is typically still found in the names of Restaurants and hotels. It conjures up images of home, food, welcome, good company. The famous German “Beergarden” used to be covered by Linden trees that gave shade to guests and beer cellars alike. Their shallow roots allowed them to be planted over the cellars and not cause damage.

Many German cities and places derive their name from “Linde”, such as Lindau but also Leipzig (from the Czech version of the name). Linden Trees would be planted to commemorate special events or existing trees named after famous people who gave speeches there, such as Martin Luther. Linden Trees can reach an age of 1000 years and their trunks a cross section of 2 meters. Germany’s oldest tree, it is said, is a Linde that may have been planted in the year 760, according to an inscription. Throughout Germany, there are many more Linden Trees of 800 to 900 years of age.

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 11:10
by DaRC
I've been having a 'doh!' :whistle: moment whilst reading this. Wracking my brains, Linden tree hmm Linden tree why do I know this.

In the UK we call this the Lime tree - very popular for lining the streets, often sadly mutilated along the same streets by poor pollarding. There is great Lime tree walk near me at Parham house.
Thanks for the additional herbal info' and folklore on these - I only knew that the leaves, particularly when they are young, can be eaten and used in salads. AFAIK the wood was also popular for shields in the medieval period.

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 11:18
by Serpentia
Lime tree
I avoided for good reason, as in Europe, that is a citric tree with green lemon-like fruit, of course. The first time I read about Lime Trees and Oaks being lovers, I was VERY confused.. until I ran it through google. If that happens to me, a translator by trade, imagine what others may think :o Tilia is the latin term.

So sad to hear about the "street trees". In Germany, that fate is suffered a lot by sycamore trees, who are also heavily pruned over here to provide shade.

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 29 Nov 2010, 12:06
by Huathe
Serpentia,

There are some good posts on ENTS concerning Tilia/Lime/Basswood. Some of the best pictures of ones in Europe have been posted by European ENTS Jeroen and Kouta on the ENTS BBS. Some of these trees look really old and really big.

We have Basswood here too. I remember a nice twin tree from an outing in the Smokies earlier in the year with Will Blozan. It was quite tall. I also remember some pretty ones in Holmes State Forest.

http://www.ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=567

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 30 Nov 2010, 10:03
by Serpentia
Can I ask a question here? You see, I've been trying to find an answer to this for years, why do the British refer to Lindens as 'Limes, or Lymes'? I'd love to cross this quest off the list.

Thank you for any input,

Serpentia

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 30 Nov 2010, 11:50
by DaRC
as per the Dictionary no one can quite explain the drift from lind (as in linden) or line into Lime for the Lime Tree in English.
It happened ca 16th Century.

Here's the dictionary roots for Lime (Citrus) and Lime (Linden) of course the third usage for Lime is for Calcium / Chalk stone used to make QuickLime which goes into making mortar / concrete.

lime
"type of citrus fruit," 1638, from Sp. lima, from Arabic limah "citrus fruit," a back-formation or a collective noun from limun "lemon" (see lemon).

lime
"linden tree," 1625, from M.E. lynde, from O.E. lind (see linden). The change of -n- to -m- probably began in compounds whose second element began in a labial (e.g. line-bark, line-bast )

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 30 Nov 2010, 11:54
by Serpentia
Thanks! I just found a site where somebody actually wrote that the Lime (the green citrus fruit) is the fruit of the Tilla... *sigh"

Serpentia

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 30 Nov 2010, 16:05
by Huathe
Serpentia,

I have wondered about why Linden trees are called " Limes " in Europe? On the ENTS forum I kept seeing Kouta Rasanen and Jeroen refer to lime trees in Europe. I said to them " I did not know that any citrus got that big. They then explained to me that it was Linden trees they call limes. I thought that was bizarre. Here in the US, Tilia is called " Basswood ".

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 05 Nov 2011, 22:45
by envelope
who are also heavily pruned over here to provide shade.
That seems oddly contradictory.

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 24 Nov 2011, 04:11
by Snægl
who are also heavily pruned over here to provide shade.
That seems oddly contradictory.
Certain types of pruning cuts (like heading cuts) actually encourage bushier growth, resulting in more shade. :D

Re: Native tree not in the Ogham - Tilia/Linden

Posted: 28 Nov 2011, 17:05
by envelope
Certain types of pruning cuts (like heading cuts) actually encourage bushier growth, resulting in more shade. :D
Ah! Excellent, thank you. I'm going to read about heading cuts. :grin: