New Yorkers, it’s time to take a deep breath.
Did you smell a floral honey-lemon scent wafting on the breeze? You just caught a whiff of the Linden trees in bloom.
The Linden (Tilia) tree flowers are small, inconspicuous, and a creamy yellow. Their fragrance is fleeting; they bloom usually for a week or two in mid-to late-June.
Linden blossom, also known as lime-flower or tilleul in French, is a source of tea and honey. Marcel Proust dipped his madeleine into linden blossom tea and everything came rushing back.
No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. – Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
We have several types of Lindens in New York City: American, Silver, and the most popular, Littleleaf. To find Linden trees near you, check out Jill Hubley’s spectacular street tree species maps.
My favorite spot to smell the Linden blossoms is on the Nethermead in Prospect Park. What about you?
The American Linden, also known as basswood, is one of my favorites; a storied tree in our history, and also a great pollinator-magnet. By a strange linguistic twitch, lindens are known as limes in Great Britain.
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There’s a great book of poems by Matthew Zapruder called American Linden!
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Thanks, Cat, for mentioning Matthew Zapruder’s “American Linden.” It’s going on my reading list! : )