Today after a rain shower, the breeze brought the scent of Linden trees in bloom in the park across the way. Every year I wait for this brief few days when the neighborhood seems intoxicated with the honeyed perfume.

It reminds me of the fragrant tea that can be made from the blossoms and leaf bracts, the elongated “second” leaf on the branches. It is the first tisane I ever had, served in France by a friend’s mother; she called it tilleul. It is famously relaxing.

Linden flowers and leaves
Sally Schneider

You can steep the fresh flowers and leaf bracts directly in boiling water to make tea and/or dry them to have for the months to come.*

I wrote in-depth about Linden and Linden tea several years ago, which you can read here. It is one of the safer treasures of urban foraging; it is hard to mistake the smell AND the branches are generally an arms reach UP and away from public activity.

Erin Boyle/
Erin Boyle/

And if you don’t feel like picking and drying leaves, I recommend taking a slow stroll under the nearest Linden tree, and BREATH IN the fragrant air.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

*(Linden is considered safe. There have been rare reports of hives or other allergic skin reactions (called contact dermatitis) from touching the lime tree. For more about the medicinal uses and interactions of Linden, check out this useful article.

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2 replies on “Linden Season’s Spellbinding Fragrance (and Tea)

  1. I once heard this story about an American family visiting France: they went out to a movie one evening and wondered why they were the only ones there; when they asked on their way out, the woman at the counter said, “Oh, the lindens are in bloom.” Sure enough everyone was out promenading under the trees.
    I expect the lindens will be blooming here in a few days. Black locusts and Russian olives are fine fragrances too.

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