Herb: Japanese Lime

Latin name: Tilia japonica

Family: Tiliaceae (Linden Family)

Medicinal use of Japanese Lime:

A tea made from the flowers is antispasmodic, diaphoretic and sedative.

Description of the plant:


20 m
(66 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Mountains all over Japan.

Edible parts of Japanese Lime:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. Flowers - parboiled to remove the bitterness and used as greens or added to soups. A tea is made from the flowers. Fruit. No further details are given. This report possibly refers to the fact that the seed and flowers of some species can be made into a chocolate substitute. A very good chocolate substitute is made from a paste of the ground fruits and flowers. Trials on marketing the product failed because the paste decomposes readily.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and used for sandals, cordage etc. Wood - light, soft. Used for boxes, barrels etc.

Propagation of Japanese Lime:

Seed - much of the seed produced in Britain is not viable, cut a few seedcases open to see if there is a seed inside. If possible, obtain fresh seed that is ripe but has not as yet developed a hard seed coat and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may germinate in the following spring though it could take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. It has a hard seed coat, embryo dormancy and a hard coat on the pericarp. All these factors mean that the seed may take up to 8 years to germinate. One way of shortening this time is to stratify the seed for 5 months at high temperatures (10C at night, up to 30C by day) and then 5 months cold stratification. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in spring just before the leaves unfurl. Takes 1 - 3 years. Suckers, when formed, can be removed with as much root as possible during the dormant season and replanted immediately.

Cultivation of the herb:

Mountains all over Japan.

Known hazards of Tilia japonica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.