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A slender tree to 24 m × 30 cm dbh Bark grey-brown, developing ridges which flake in thin scales. Twigs slender (1–2 mm thick), becoming glabrous. Buds with three scales exposed, glabrous, often shining red. Leaves with short stalks (5–14 mm); narrowly ovate, 4.5–5.7 cm × 2–3.5 cm; base obliquely truncate, tip long-pointed; underside sparsely hairy or glabrous except for axillary tufts; marginal teeth small, without mucronate tips. Floral bract 3–7.5 × 0.6–1.2 cm, almost glabrous. Inflorescences drooping, with 9–31 small flowers in compact cymes. Staminodes present. Fruit small (5 mm), almost spherical, with a fragile wall covered in very short tomentum (Pigott 2012).
Distribution Japan Kyushu and far SW Honshu
Habitat Mountain forests
USDA Hardiness Zone 7
RHS Hardiness Rating H5
Tilia kiusiana is distinct in its small, narrow, short-stalked leaves, making it one of very few members of the genus whose allegiance is not always and immediately recognisable. Although it is confined in the wild to the almost subtropical climate of the far south and west of Japan, it grows happily if rather slowly in collections in the milder parts of Europe, setting fertile seed at Arboretum les Barres in France (Pigott 2012). It was introduced to Britain in the 1930s [MORE RECENT REF] Bean, W.J. (1914), but today’s known trees are much younger. The very dainty foliage tends to encourage an assumption that the whole tree will remain proportionately diminutive, and The Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs (Hillier & Coombes 2002) even describes T. kiusiana as ‘a small shrub’. However, some younger introductions to Britain are now growing quite freely; the tallest and handsomest, on the north side of Pool Avenue in the Westonbirt National Arboretum, was 14 m × 30 cm dbh in 2014, with a straight bole, while a younger tree in the National Collection at Peasmarsh Place in East Sussex was 10 m × 24 cm dbh in 2018, 25 years from planting (Tree Register 2018). SPECIMENS IN NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE?