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Tilia americana var. heterophylla (American basswood)
Makin, Julie

Tilia americana var. heterophylla

Tilia americana L. var. heterophylla (Vent.) Loudon

American Basswood, White Basswood, Linden

Tiliaceae (Linden Family)

Synonym(s): Tilia eburnea, Tilia heterophylla, Tilia heterophylla var. michauxii, Tilia lasioclada, Tilia michauxii, Tilia monticola


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

A stately, wide-spreading tree 60-80 ft. tall, occasionally much taller. Conical form in youth, the crown becoming rounded with age. Broadly oval leaves, with densely white undersides, sometimes change to yellow in fall but often turn brown and somewhat unsightly. Tends to sprout at the base, producing a clump of tall trees around what was the original tree. Inconspicuous but fragrant flowers.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 100 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Nut-like.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , AR , DC , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: N.w. FL to LA, n. to PA, WV, s. OH, s. IN, s. IL & MO
Native Habitat: Rich, rocky woods & bluffs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, rocky soils.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Untreated seeds germinate in 2-3 years. Seeds germinate most easily if fruits are collected as they first trun slightly brown and are planted immediately. Mechanical or chemical pretreatment of the hard pericarp and seed coat hastens germination.
Seed Collection: Seeds germinate most easily if fruits are collected as they first turn slightly brown. For storage, dry seeds and store at room temperature up to two years.
Seed Treatment: Scarify mechanically or soak in concentrated sulfuric acid and moist chill for 3 months.
Commercially Avail: yes

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Tilia americana var. heterophylla in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tilia americana var. heterophylla in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tilia americana var. heterophylla


Record Modified: 2023-05-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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