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The Sweet Smell Of The Lipa Tree

Wherever you are in Bulgaria at this time of year you can take in the wonderful aroma of the Lipa tree flowers.

We have a huge Lipa tree next to our house and on a hot sunny day it is like an outside air freshener that fills the inside of the house with the wonderful perfume it releases.

Between the months of June and July, the flowers are ready to be picked and dried to make herbal tea. I only know of this from my Bulgarian neighbour who regularly shares his knowledge of food and drink here with us. He gave us some to try during our first summer, and as we will give most things a go,we actually enjoyed it. So since then we have collected it ourselves every summer, and dried out the flowers and had our own herbal tea to enjoy later in the year.

General Facts:

Lipa as it is known in the Slavic language is also called the Tilia.

There are many species of this tree, the exact number is unknown but they grow well in both the wild and when cultivated.

The Tilia or Lipa are large deciduous trees and can reach 20 - 40 metres tall and are found in many parts of Europe and America.

They were once considered a sacred tree in some countries and have been known to reach ages that are measured in centuries.

The leaves are heart shaped, and grow tiny fruits that look like peas and hang attached to a ribbon like leaf, and they have dense foliage.

The tree is fragrant and nectar producing flowers are important to Beekeepers to produce a pale but rich tasting honey.

The flowers are used for herbal tea and tinctures and are used by herbalists in treating restlessness, headaches and hysteria. Some varieties are used in perfume, and the leaf buds and young leaves can be eaten raw.