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American Basswood Tilia americana

Other Common Name(s):

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

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

var. americana: Rich coves, rocky slopes, metabasalt boulderfields, rich north-facing river bluffs, calcareous Coastal Plain ravines

var. caroliniana: Mesic forests, in the outer Coastal Plain usually associated with shell deposits, Indian shell middens, or underlying coquina limestone 

var. heterophyla: Rich coves and mesic to dry slopes (the drier sites usually on limestone), often one of the most abundant trees in Southern Appalachian cove forests

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest:

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

Flowers:  Frequent consumption of tea made with the honey flavored flowers can cause heart damage.

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

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. 

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

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Redmond, var. heterophylla
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Redmond, var. heterophylla
Tags:
#food source summer#non-toxic for horses#wildlife#street tree#food source nectar#Piedmont Mountains FACU#loamy soil#sun#early summer flowers#flower#food source mid-summer#sunshine#deciduous#dry soil#summer fruits#summer flowers#honey#Braham Arboretum#part sun#part shade#food source pollen#low maintenance#fragrant flowers#bird friendly#food source#full sun#food source flowers#shade tree#Coastal FACU#winter interest#low flammability#full sun flowers#coastal plant#yellow#nectar plant early summer#fragrant#piedmont#wildlife plants#yellow flowers#dry soils tolerant#bees#transplant#fruit tree#woodlands#fruit#well-drained soil#NC native#flowering#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly#nut#non-toxic for dogs#tree#fruits#pollinator plant#edible seeds#food source herbage#native#food source hard mast fruit#dendrology#fall color#pollinator garden#loamy soils tolerant#small mammals#woody#deciduous tree#coastal#loam#flowering tree#fire resistant#butterfly friendly#native tree#spring interest#coastal areas#partial sun#nuts#mountains#audubon#clay soils tolerant#drought tolerant#larval host plant#native garden#partial shade#wildlife plant#non-toxic for cats#moist soil#edible garden#full sunlight#summer interest#edible flowers#naturalized area#spring flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tilia
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Tiliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Lumber, pulpwood, veneer, shade tree in urban areas; soft wood for carving. Dried flowers are used to make tea.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and eastern North America.
    Distribution:
    Eastern North America; northeastern U.S
    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.
    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
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Description:
    Brown nut-like structure that is attached to papery bract. In North Carolina, flowers are available from July to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Dried
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    In North Carolina, the pale-yellow flowers are available from May to July. Dried flowers are used to make tea.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Description:
    Longitudinally furrowed with flat-top ridges and rough texture.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Pollution