Basswood, American (P)
At a Glance
Latin: Tilia americana
Other common names: American linden, basswood, American Basswood
Mature Height: This is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree reaching a height of 60 to 120 ft (exceptionally 129 ft) with a trunk diameter of 3–4 ft at maturity. The crown is domed, the branches spreading, often pendulous.
Soil / Climate: It likes moist soil with a relatively high pH. It is often planted on the windward side of an orchard as a protection to young and delicate trees.
Notes: The bark is gray to light brown, with narrow, well-defined fissures. The roots are large, deep, and spreading. Its flowers provide abundant nectar for insects. The seeds are eaten by chipmunks, mice, and squirrels. Rabbits and voles eat the bark, sometimes girdling young trees. The leaves serve as food for caterpillars. It is a common wood for use in the production of solid body electric guitars, where it is considered an analogue for aspen and poplar, because it is light, strong and resonant, though it is usually used for guitars that will be painted an opaque color, because its lack of notable grain makes it an unattractive candidate for transparent finish. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Linden tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes.
Basswood are an important nectar source for honeybees.
Purchase Size: 2-3 ft.
USDA Species Plant Guide: Uses, Description and Management