A tree’s form can be a trait that makes it worth growing, like this tall and narrow linden cultivar.
In 1906, the Arboretum accessioned a littleleaf linden, Tilia cordata, that staff taxonomist Alfred Rehder acquired from Sweden. After growing in a nursery on Peters Hill for a few years, the grafted plant was transplanted into its current location near the summit of Peters Hill—an area that a 1927 map showed was reserved for ‘rare plants’. While there were no notes in the initial accession record on why the Arboretum should cultivate it, or even where in Sweden Rehder picked it up, within a few decades its value as a rarity became apparent. By 1950, Donald Wyman (horticulturist in charge of the collections) observed how the tree had a slender and svelte form, and in 1960 a photograph of the tree graced the cover of American Nurseryman, accompanying an article Wyman wrote within the pages. Although a cultivar name hadn’t been proposed at that time, Wyman lauded its praise and how the tree resembled a narrow pin oak (Quercus palustris) , with lower branches drooping down and upper ones ascending.
The clone was officially given a name in 1963, a reference to its origins and to its form: Tilia cordata ‘Swedish Upright’. At the time, the tree was 35 feet tall and just 15 feet wide. Because of its narrow habit, and the species general ability to withstand urban conditions (littleleaf linden is a very common street tree), the cultivar is an ideal candidate for challenging sites where there is little room to grow outward. It also is a fantastic accent or specimen tree to nestle into a landscape setting.
The original has not grown much over the past 60 years, approaching about 45 feet in height and almost 20 feet at its widest point. It still maintains its skinny character, as do a number of younger clones that were propagated from it that are growing in the Arboretum’s collections.
Viewing this plant in-person? Look for these defining characteristics:
About Our Collection
The ‘Swedish Upright’ is one of the best street tree cultivars introduced by the Arnold Arboretum.
The tree is widely admired for its narrowness, which is perfect tight spaces.
This specimen is one of the few accessions at the Arboretum traced back to Alfred Rehder as the collector or introducer.
There are tree trees in the collection—the original 1906 tree as well as one from 1961 and 1991.
The oldest tree in our collections is from 1906; it is also the tallest at just shy of 50’ in height.
- Living Specimens
- Specimens Dead or Removed
- First Addition
- Most Recent Addition
- Tallest Specimen
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