The Adventures of Hairy Lime (contd)

Back in the 1930s J. W. Heslop Harrison and his crew reported Tilia vulgaris Hayne (Lime) as “Planted at Big Harbour, Rona and likewise in Raasay House grounds”.

As far as I can tell Tilia vulgaris = Tilia x vulgaris = Tilia x europaea (Common Lime), the naturally occurring but very widely planted hybrid between Tilia cordata (Small-leaved Lime) and Tilia platyphyllos (Large-leaved Lime).

Both Clive Stace’s New Flora of the British Isles and John Poland’s The Vegetative Key to the British Flora make the distinction between T. platyphyllos  on the one hand and T. cordata and T. x europaea on the other, that only T. platyphyllos has hairs on the leaves anywhere other than in tufts in the vein axils on the underside of the leaves.

So the old limes in Raasay House have veins on the underside of the leaves that look like this:

Tilia platyphyllos hairs

i.e. this is Tilia platyphyllos.

I do not know what the state of Tilia taxonomy was in the 1930s but I suspect that it may be similar to the situation whereby Heslop Harrison et al. reported Carex vulpina L. (Fox Sedge) when what we actually have is Carex otrubae Podp.  (False Fox-sedge) – so much has been learnt in the past 80 years.

This encourages me to keep checking limes throughout Skye and I am grateful to Steve Terry for starting me off down this route last year.

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5 Responses to “The Adventures of Hairy Lime (contd)”

  1. Seth Gibster Says:

    It constantly puzzles me why Heslop Harrison, an (at the time) well-respected botanist and entomologist in his own right, would so fraudulently and repeatedly claim outrageous findings amongst what were obviously bona fide findings. Ok, so you have a theory to prove, but surely willful deception should alert the perpetrator to the wrongness of their own actions and call a halt to further wrong doings? Wouldn’t be quite so easy to get away with such shenanigans nowadays (Large Blues on the Hebrides my ar$e) *steps off his soapbox with apologies*

  2. Stephen Says:

    Yes, a strange man of whom it has been said.

  3. Steve Terry Says:

    Did you ever take a look at those Limes at Armadale?

  4. Stephen Says:

    Today! I agree with you – all hairy-veined.

  5. Two Changes of Heart | Plants of Skye, Raasay & The Small Isles Says:

    […] the lime trees with hairs on the underside of the leaf veins. I went back to a 1992 paper by Donald Pigott concerning the hybrid lime trees planted in Britain […]

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