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Tilia americana

Phonetic Spelling
TIL-ee-uh a-mer-ih-KAY-nah
Description

American linden, is a useful shade tree in the Malvaceae (mallow) family that grows 50-80 feet with a straight trunk and is found in all areas of North Carolina, but especially in the mountains where it is a common and valuable timber tree.  Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, it can reach heights of 70 to 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 to 3 feet. It is easy to transplant, is tolerant of clay soil and has some drought tolerance once established. It prefers fertile moist well-drained loams. Fall color is pale yellow-green.

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. Bees and other pollinating insects enjoy the nectar from the flowers. 

Cymes of fragrant, pale yellow late spring flowers are quite showy. This tree is great for use as a shade tree or street tree but does not tolerate urban conditions.It can also be pruned to form a flowering hedge.

 

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 significant problem. While infrequent, Verticillium wilt can be fatal. Powdery mildew, leaf spots, and cankers are other diseases that rarely occur. Particularly sensitive to heat and soil compaction.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bailyard'
    Symetrical, 70 feet high by 40 feet wide.
  • 'Boulevard'
    60 feet high with a limited spread, yellow fall foliage.
  • 'Continental Appeal'
    50 ft tall, ascending branches, dense crown
  • 'Redmond'
    40 to 60 feet high.
  • var. americana
  • var. caroliniana
  • var. heterophylla Tilia americana var. heterophylla
    Leaf undersides are whitish
'Bailyard', 'Boulevard', 'Continental Appeal', 'Redmond', var. americana, var. caroliniana, var. heterophylla
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#shade tree#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#wildlife plants#large tree#native tree#yellow flowers#edible flowers#honey bees#piedmont#woody#low maintenance#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#flowering tree#street tree#fruit tree#nuts#small mammals#honey#moist soil#food source#low flammability#NC native#well-drained soil#transplant#summer flowers#native garden#fire resistant#mountains#summer interest#spring interest#edible seeds#pollinator plant#edible garden#Braham Arboretum#naturalized area#larval host plant#fruits summer#food source summer#deciduous tree#dendrology#early summer flowers#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#loamy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#food source mid-summer#partial shade tolerant#food source flowers#pollinator garden#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#audubon#woodland garden#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly#coastal plant#partial sun tolerant#lenticles
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bailyard'
    Symetrical, 70 feet high by 40 feet wide.
  • 'Boulevard'
    60 feet high with a limited spread, yellow fall foliage.
  • 'Continental Appeal'
    50 ft tall, ascending branches, dense crown
  • 'Redmond'
    40 to 60 feet high.
  • var. americana
  • var. caroliniana
  • var. heterophylla Tilia americana var. heterophylla
    Leaf undersides are whitish
'Bailyard', 'Boulevard', 'Continental Appeal', 'Redmond', var. americana, var. caroliniana, var. heterophylla
Tags:
#fragrant#deciduous#shade tree#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#wildlife plants#large tree#native tree#yellow flowers#edible flowers#honey bees#piedmont#woody#low maintenance#spring flowers#winter interest#fall interest#flowering tree#street tree#fruit tree#nuts#small mammals#honey#moist soil#food source#low flammability#NC native#well-drained soil#transplant#summer flowers#native garden#fire resistant#mountains#summer interest#spring interest#edible seeds#pollinator plant#edible garden#Braham Arboretum#naturalized area#larval host plant#fruits summer#food source summer#deciduous tree#dendrology#early summer flowers#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#loamy soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#food source mid-summer#partial shade tolerant#food source flowers#pollinator garden#bee friendly#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#audubon#woodland garden#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly#coastal plant#partial sun tolerant#lenticles
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tilia
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Tiliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Lumber, pulpwood, veneer. Cream-colored soft wood for carving. The inner bark has been used to make rope and mats.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and eastern North America.
    Distribution:
    New Brunswick to Florida, west to Texas, north to Manitoba.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides nectar for pollinators and is a larval host plant for Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). You may see it during its three flights from February-November in the deep south and two flights March-September in the north. Seeds eaten by birds and squirrels. Bees and other pollinating insects enjoy the nectar from the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Edibility:
    Dried flowers are used to make teas but over-use can cause heart damage. Syrup can be made from the sweet tree sap. Honey from this tree is prized for flavor. Leaves can be used in salads.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Erect
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a small, globose, downy, hard and dry cream-colored nutlet about the size of a pea suspended on a stalk attached to persistent bracts that act as wings to help them be distributed by the wind. In North Carolina, fruits are available from July to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The 5 inch long drooping clusters of yellow flowers are fragrant and showy. They have five sepals and petals and numerous stamens. The flower stem is attached to the middle of a leaf-like bract. The bees visit it in abundance. Available from May to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are simple, alternately arranged, ovate to cordate, asymmetrical, unequal at the base. Margins are coarsely serrate. They can grow up to 10 inches long and 3 to 6 inches wide. They have downy hairs on the undersides when young but smooth with age.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Lenticels
    Bark Description:
    Branch bark is gray and smooth with small inconspicuous lenticels. Longitudinally furrowed with flat-top, narrow ridges and rough texture.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Young twigs are light green, tomentose or tomentose-hirsute. The terminal bud is false, each very plump with one side bulging out disproportionately.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Screen/Privacy
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Pollution
    Wind