Floral trivium

Lime tree, Tilia, tei

Flowers of Tilia cordata

Fishing about online, researching for my book, I found a lovely if tiny fact about lime trees. There are several species of lime tree in Europe – including Transylvania and england – and they are significantly more interesting than I’d realised. They live for many centuries, have religious and cultural references, including a Greek myth, and have health-giving properties. Romanians value limeflower tea highly and with good reason.

But the almost insignificant thing that pleased me was that an old English name for the lime tree is teil. Lime, aka Linden in Germany and America, has an Old German derivation, but the Latin (scientific) name Tilia ended up in Romanian as tei. Like so many Romanian words, almost identical to the English word.

Tei in Romanian was – albeit in a rare form – teil in English. Delicious in any language.