Home.....About.....Book......Events......Online Exhibitions.....Media......Member Works......General Articles.....Newsletter......Society......Contact......Blog.......

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Linden Tree Flower and its Fragrance

The small clusters of flowers and the heart-shaped leaves of the linden tree

Younger flowers are pale yellow

The flowers turns a deeper yellow as they mature

[Photos By: KPA]

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
Linden Tree on a Bastion
Painted: 1494

The flowers are barely discernible from a distance. But once up close, their scent tells us that we're under the linden tree.


These flowers were blooming on a nearby tree. It is a strangely inconspicuous tree. Its flowers are barely distinguishable in the thick foliage. But once underneath, they have a pungent, sweet smell. I thought it was a honeysuckle tree.

I picked a short stalk (I didn't have my camera to take a picture).

I arranged the flowers in a small bowl, and took a photo. And thanks to "google image" I was able to identify it as a linden flower, from the linden tree.

Here is information about the linden tree and its flower:
This tree will grow to 130 feet in height and when in bloom perfumes its whole neighbourhood. The leaves are obliquely heart-shaped, dark green above, paler below, from 2 1\2 to 4 inches long and sharply toothed. The yellowish-white flowers hang from slender stalks in flattened clusters. They have five petals and five sepals. The original five stamens have each developed a cluster, and there is a spoon-shaped false petal opposite each true one.

Linden tea is much used on the Continent, especially in France, where stocks of dried lime-flowers are kept in most households for making 'Tilleul.'

The honey from the flowers is regarded as the best flavoured and the most valuable in the world. It is used exclusively in medicine and in liqueurs.

The wood is useful for small articles not requiring strength or durability, and where ease in working is wanted: it is specially valuable for carving, being white, close-grained, smooth and tractable in working, and admits of the greatest sharpness in minute details. Grinley Gibbons did most of his flower and figure carvings for St. Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, and Chatsworth in Lime wood.

It is the lightest wood produced by any of the broad-leaved European trees, and is suitable for many other purposes, as it never becomes worm-eaten. On the Continent it is much used for turnery, sounding boards for pianos, in organ manufacture, as the framework of veneers for furniture, for packingcases, and also for artists' charcoal making and for the fabrication of wood-pulp.

The inner bark or bast when detached from the outer bark in strands or ribands makes excellent fibres and coarse matting, chiefly used by gardeners, being light, but strong and elastic. Fancy baskets are often made of it. In Sweden, the inner bark, separated by maceration so as to form a kind of flax, has been employed to make fishing-nets.

The sap, drawn off in the spring, affords a considerable quantity of sugar.

The foliage is eaten by cattle, either fresh or dry. The leaves and shoots are mucilaginous and may be employed in poultices and fomentations. [Source: Botanical.com]

Tilia L. Var. Americana
Illustration By: David Nathanael Friederich Dietrich
Family Tiliaceae
Tilia americana L. var. americana
American basswood, American linden, basswood
Status: Native
Plant: Perennial tree to 130' tall
Flower: Inflorescence a stalked cluster of fragrant, yellowish flowers
Fruit: Nutlike, hairy, roundish
Leaf: Oval to round, heart-shaped to flat unequal base, edges sharply toothed
Habitat: Rich woods
[Source: Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium]
Here are some well-known perfumers who have used the pungent, sweet linden blossom scent:
- 5th Avenue, Elizabeth Arden
- Paris, Yves St. Laurent
- PanAme, Jean Patou
- Aroma d'Orange Verte, Hermes
- Central Park, Bond No. 9
- Central Park West, Bond No. 9
- Eau de Cologne du 68, Guerlain
- DKNY Women Summer 2012, Donna Karan
- Beatiful Sheer, Estee Lauder
[Source: Fragrantica]

Franz Schubert
"Der Lindenbaum" (Winterreise, 5)
Gerald Seminatore, Tenor and Michael Schütze, piano
Meng Concert Hall, Orange County, CA (live performance)

Am Brunnen vor dem Tore
Da steht ein Lindenbaum;
Ich träumt in seinem Schatten
So manchen süßen Traum.

Ich schnitt in seine Rinde
So manches liebe Wort;
Es zog in Freud' und Leide
Zu ihm mich immer fort.

Ich mußt' auch heute wandern
Vorbei in tiefer Nacht,
Da hab' ich noch im Dunkel
Die Augen zugemacht.

Und seine Zweige rauschten,
Als riefen sie mir zu:
Komm her zu mir, Geselle,
Hier find'st du deine Ruh'!

Die kalten Winde bliesen
Mir grad ins Angesicht;
Der Hut flog mir vom Kopfe,
Ich wendete mich nicht.

Nun bin ich manche Stunde
Entfernt von jenem Ort,
Und immer hör' ich's rauschen:
Du fändest Ruhe dort!
Near the well before the gate,
a linden tree stands.
I dreamed in its shade
many beautiful dreams.

And in its bark I carved
many words of love;
My pleasures and my sorrows
were drawn into the tree itself.

Today I had to pass it,
in the depths of night -
and still, in all the darkness,
my eyes closed.

Its branches bent and rustled,
as if they called to me:
Come here, companion,
here you will find peace!

The icy winds were blowing,
straight in my face they ground.
My hat flew off my head, yet
I did not turn back.

Now I many hours away
from where the linden tree stands,
and still I hear it whisp'ring:
"Here you will find peace!"

Johann Strauss III (1866-1939)
Unter Den Linden, waltz for orchestra
(Under the Linden Trees), Op. 30

Berlin, Unter den Linden

In the nineteenth century, Unter den Linden was "the best-known and grandest street in Berlin."
Posted By: Kidist P. Asrat