Linden Leaf Lettuce

This is the central information spot for the International Open Source Research Project “Linden Leaf Lettuce” – an investigation into producing tree leaves as an alternative to lettuce/spinach.

The first trees we investigate is the linden tree, also known as basswood or lime. It is a family of trees (Tilia) with more than one hundred species that grows all over the world. In Europe, the dominant wild species are “Tilia cordata” and “Tilia platyphyllos” and hybrid crosses of those. (If you study other trees with edible leaves – please share.)

Linden leaves are delicious and healthy, a subtle culinary experience, especially the fresh growth. The light green translucent leaves are soft and succulent, an excellent sustainable alternative to lettuce. We are looking into the best way of growing linden leaves for food.

Click here to download the research plan for 2016: Linden_Leaf_Lettuce_-_research_plan_2016-01-31

Please share your observations and recipes – so that we together build a body-of-knowledge around these fantastic tree-foods. Send an email to: 2016-02-01 13_05_16-Document1 - Microsoft Word

Linden Tree – A Common Lettuce Tree

Linden trees are planted in many parks and other urban landscapes, since they are strong and can resist quite a lot of abuse. They are also beautiful and smell great in the early summer when the flowers emerge.

Here are some hints on how to recognize a Linden tree near you:

  1. Check out the leaves

    Linden leaves are heart-shaped.

    Linden leaves are heart-shaped.

  2. Look for flowers (June-July)

    Flowers have a light color "brachyum" and white blossom.

    Flowers have a light color leaf (“brachyum”) and white blossom.

  3. Check the little branches at the bottom of the trunk, next to the root system. This is common, but not every tree has it. We do not know why some trees have and others dont.
    DSC07966_wortel_opslag_grote_bladeren

    Leaves from root-shoots are very large. This is a great place to harvest new leaves all summer.

    Leaves from root-shoots are sometimes very large. This is a great place to harvest new leaves all summer.

There are many species and crosses, all have slightly different branches and leaves.

One important question is: Which one has the most delicious leaves?

Research Plan 2016

The “Linden Leaf Lettuce Research Project” strives to build more knowledge around leaf production, harvest, storage and cooking linden leaves. We collect production data – how much do we get from each tree? taste preferences – which is the most delicious species/cultivar?

We have planted 25 small trees in Soest, the Netherlands during 2015, to use as a reference point for the quantitative research.

First planting of small linden trees.

First planting of six small linden trees. (here Tilia platyphyllos)

Please read the attached document for more details about research plan and objectives.

[click here for the research plan: Linden_Leaf_Lettuce_-_research_plan_2015-11-18]

We are looking for more people to help build more knowledge about this.Do you have some linden trees where you harvest leaves? How does it work for you? Can you share your favourite recipes?