American Basswood, Linden
Tilia americana
Family Tiliaceae

* Leaves heart-shaped, fine-toothed, hairless, with asymmetrical bases, 5-6" long.
* Flowered clusters and nutlike fruits attached to leafy bracts which hang from the tree, 4-5".
* Bark ridged and furrowed on large trees.
* Height: 60-80'.

Natural History:
* Habitat: Moist woods.
* Range: Southeastern Canada to eastern United States.
* Native.

* Basswood is light and strong, and the trees are valued as shade and ornamental trees. The wood is most desired by wood carvers, who love to work with its even grain and light color. The flowers taste and smell like honey. Bees use them to make honey as well, but an excess of sugar in the flowers sometimes kills them. This explains the strange phenomenon of dead bees under flowering linden trees.

* Indians used to make rope out of basswood's fibrous inner bark. This rope was used to bind wounds and stitch mats made of cat-tail leaves.

* "The odor of the Lindens in bloom brings back to many of us the soaring wail of the treetoads, the first fireflies in the dusk, the banging of June beetles on the window screens, the limpness of the flags at Fourth of July, and all that is a boy's-eye view of those languorous first days of vacation from school."
-Donald Peattie, 1950


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008