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Tilia americana var. americana L.
American basswood, Linn, American linden, White basswood
Synonyms: Tilia neglecta
USDA Symbol: TIAMA
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
White , Yellow Bloom Notes:
Flowers are fragrant, yellowish-white, in drooping, 6-20-flowered clusters hanging on a stalk that diverges from near the center of an oblong,
leaflike and strongly veined bract
5-10 cm long.
CT , DC , DE , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: NB USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Basswood is planted as a shade tree
or ornamental. For sites of smaller size or with compacted soils, other Tilia species may be more suitable. Use Wildlife:
Basswood is good browse and buds are important for birds and deer in winter. Seeds are eaten by birds, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks and other small mammals. The wood decays easily and produces many cavities (especially in trees past 120 years of age), which are used by cavity-nesting animals (wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers, other birds, and small mammals). Use Food:
Basswood is a prolific nectar
producer and pollination by honeybees results in a choice grade of honey. Native
Americans used fresh basswood sap,
which contains moderate amounts of sugar, as a watery drink or boiled it into syrup. They also ate young basswood leaves and used the cambium for soups and breads. Use Medicinal:
Various medicinal uses were made of leaf and bark
extracts, and Iroquois used freshly cut bark
as an emergency bandage for wounds. Use Other:
Basswood is said to be a soil-enriching species, bringing calcium and magnesium up from deep in the soil profile and depositing it in leaf litter on the surface. The inner bark
is used for the “bast,” for rope, baskets, mats, fish nets, and baskets, etc. Basswood is still valued for its soft, light, easily worked wood, especially for turned items and hand carving. It once was the material of choice for prosthetic limbs, but these are now made from synthetics. Other uses have included boxes, toys, woodenware, drawing boards, veneer, venetian blinds, excelsior, and pulp. Warning:
Over-browsing by high densities of white-tailed deer can result in basswood seedling height growth reduction or even complete loss of basswood from the stand. Mice and voles on oldfield sites may often girdle the stems, and rabbits also feed heavily on seedlings and small saplings. Basswood is easily decayed by fungi, and butt rot is an important factor in loss of merchantable timber. Fragrant Flowers:
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Record Modified: 2009-04-01
Research By: TWC Staff