7 American Basswood
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Basic Information about this tree
  • Scientific Name: Tilia americana
  • Common Names:American Basswood, American Linden, White Basswood, American Lime

  • Deciduous
  • Sunlight / Moisture requirements / Soil preference: Full sun, moist chalky or loam soils, prefers woodlands and bottomlands
  • Flowering type: Monoecious with both female and male parts in the same bloom
  • Pollination strategy: Insects
  • Native 
  • Age Estimate/ Health: About 7 years when Planted in 2023, healthy
  • Longevity: Up to 200 years
  • Mature Size: 60-100 ft tall by 30-50 ft wide
  • GPS Coordinates  N45.00199 W92.909407
  • NOTE: The Washington County Master Gardeners planted two basswood trees near the apiary to provide nectar for the honeybees.

Mature Tree in Winter/ Summer

7 basswood winter tree
7 Basswood in summer

Leaves in Summer / Fall

Leaves are alternate, simple, heart-shaped, 4-8” long, with coarsely serrated edges,  and unequal base.

7 basswood leaves summer
7 basswood leaves fall

Flowers - monoecious with male and female parts

7 Basswood flowers

Fruit Unripe / Ripe

7 basswood fruiting
7 basswood mature fruit

Bark of Mature Tree / root system sketch

American Basswood have shallow roots relative to other species. For example, a 28-year-old American basswood in prairie soil has roots that are 27 feet (8.2 m) deep, but most of them are in the top 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) of soil. Basswood trees have an extensive lateral root system that supports trees that can grow 70 to 80 feet tall with a 2 to 3 foot diameter.

7 basswood bark
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Uses in Traditional and Modern Eras

Value for wildlife: The trees’ fragrant flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies during daytime and moths at night. Bees produce dark-colored honey from the nectar. American basswood seeds are often eaten by chipmunks and squirrels. The tree also provides a habitat for wildlife. 

Utility for Humans: Used as landscape tree for shade and aromatic flowers.  Works well with bluebells.  Contributes greatly to nutrient quality of soil as the leaves contain high levels of nitrogen, calcium, potassium and magnesium and the soil beneath the tree absorbs these nutrients.

Links & References

 Its native range includes Minnesota and extends across the northeastern half of North America. Native habitats include upland hardwood forests and valleys that have moist soils. It is the northernmost of the basswood species.


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