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Tilia americana

Common Name(s):
American basswood, American linden
Edible Plants, Trees

American linden is a useful shade tree in the Malvaceae family. It is easy to transplant is tolerant of clay soil and some drought once established. It has pale yellow-green fall color.

Seasons of Interest:

Foliage: Fall Bloom: Summer, June Fruit: Late Summer Branches: Winter, red

Wildlife Value:  An amazing wildlife tree and a larval plant for red spotted purple and mourning cloak butterflies. Its flowers are so attractive to honeybees you may hear the tree buzzing from several feet away. The nectar makes an excellent tasting honey. Its seeds are eaten by birds and squirrels.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems. You may see borers, beetles, lacebugs, caterpillars, and scale. In hot, dry conditions spider mites may pose a signifcant problem. While infrequent, Verticillium wilt can be fatal. Powdery mildew, leaf spots, and cankers are other diseases that rarely occur. 

Compare this plant to: T. cordataT. tomentosa and T. x europaea) may make better selections for urban areas.

60-75 ft.
Lacy cluster of fragrant cream flowers; nut like structure attached to a papery bract
2 to 8
Sun; moist, well drained fertile soil; tolerates dry soil and clay but not wet sites; keep soil mulched
Pyramidal in youth; tall tree; slender, low, arching, spreading branches; broad; rounded; open crown
Flowers are used to make tea and syrup can be made from the sweet tree sap.
45-60 ft.
Growth Rate:
4 to 8 in. alternate, simple leaves; modest yellow green fall color
deciduous, bees, drought, fall color, birds, edible, pollinator, wildlife, shade tree, larval plant, winter interest, clay soil

NCCES plant id: 2219

Tilia americana Tilia americana leaf detail
Photo by Virens, CC BY - 2.0
Tilia americana Tilia americana
Photo by Wendy Cutler, CC BY - 2.0
Tilia americana Tilia americana
Photo by Virens, CC BY - 2.0
Tilia americana Tilia americana bark
Photo by Kerry Woods, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0
Tilia americana Tilia americana blooms
Photo by Virens, CC BY - 2.0
 Tilia americana Tilia americana seed heads
Photo by Anita Gould, CC BY-NC-2.0
Tilia americana T. americana fall/winter
Photo by Kent McFarland, CC BY-NC-2.0