Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unter Der Linden

If you've been noticing a heavy perfumed scent coming from some of the grand trees that line Vancouver streets, chances are you have wandered under a stand of linden trees. There are linden varieties native to Europe and America, and the tree is venerated in European countries, known as the tree of love and the tree of truth. Some trees have been known to grow for two thousand years. The wood can be used for sculpture and the blossoms are medicinal. Linden blossom tea is used to treat colds and flu and to lower blood pressure. It should be used with caution, especially for those with heart conditions. Linden is also soporific, so adding an infusion to your bath water will help you sleep. Perhaps this is where it gets the reputation for making bees "drunk" on its nectar. Most varieties of linden are treasured nectar plants, however one variety, the silver linden, Tilia Tomentosa, is toxic to bees.

It is not surprising essential oils of linden are used in the perfume industry. On hot muggy days I find the scent overwhelming. It is so strong that it actually masks traffic odors, which is a good thing! I am surprised we don't celebrate our linden trees in Vancouver. In fact, many people hate the trees because they attract aphids which produce honey dew. This sweet substance drips down on cars, making them sticky. I offer my deepest sympathies for this minor inconvenience. I noticed that in Coquitlam, there is an annual linden tea party held by the Riverview Horticultural Society. Maybe we need to start up a similar tradition here! If you want to experience the linden tree rapture, find the corner on the west side of Main and 21st in front of Liberty Bakery and across from Shaktea. Inhale and enjoy.


  1. Thanks for this post--I was wondering what that beautiful scent was (along John Street [near Main] between 28th and 29th) and also saw a bee this morning wandering around in the periwinkle and crawling along the ground--I hope he was just drunk on Linden and not disoriented by neonicotinoids...

  2. Thanks Maxx,

    Isn't the scent amazing?