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Small to medium-sized tree resembling T. caroliniana, distinguished from it by Hardin (1990) only on account of its disjunct distribution (200 km separating populations of caroliniana in Texas and mexicana in Coahuila) – somewhat supported by the villose pubescence of its twigs, peduncles and pedicels, but the hair type is very variable in the Mexican populations. Leaves unequal at base, with reddish brown hairs. Cymes large, usually exceeding the length of the accompanying bracts; dense covering of stellate hairs on outsides of sepals. Hardin 1990. Distribution MEXICO: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Veracruz. Habitat Moist, montane forest, between 770 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT862.
At present the name Tilia mexicana stands for all Mexican lindens, whose range of variation has yet to be fully explored and evaluated (D. Pigott, pers. comm. 2008). From the limited sample available in cultivation, plants seem to be surprisingly hardy. Seed was collected by the British team of James Compton, John d’Arcy and Martyn Rix in the Sierra Madre Oriental near Saltillo, Nuevo León in 1991. This has given rise to several specimens in British gardens that are growing steadily, including on heavy clay in James Compton’s garden in Wiltshire (J. Compton, pers. comm. 2008), and it is currently commercially available in the United Kingdom from the same provenance. It has also been collected in three localities by Donald and Sheila Pigott. The elongated leaves with their reddish hairs are very attractive.