He is a member of the Society of American Foresters. This often results in clustered rings of basswoods, a common sight in central and eastern forests. The American and white basswood tree typically boasts straight trunks clear of lower branches that rise to fairly compact, spreading and broadly rounded canopies. Young basswood trees feature light gray, smooth bark, while that of older trees becomes darker and deeply ridged. If you’re a woodcarver and have never used this wood, you’re in for a real treat. Basswood Tree Identification Basswood's asymmetrical and lopsided heart-shaped leaf is the largest of all broadleaf trees, nearly as wide as it is long at between 5 and 8 inches. Personally, I like the young leaves right off the tree when they are about the size of your thumb nail. It is an important timber tree in the Great Lakes states. Basswood or Linden tree grows to a height of 30 to 40 meters. The flower of this tree is blooming in summer, in late June and early July. Some scientists contend there’s just one kind, the American basswood (Tilia americana), while others recognize anywhere from one to three other species. Ethan Shaw is an independent naturalist and freelance outdoors/nature writer based in Oregon. The Tilia family tree in general is not completely agreed upon, and that includes just how many species North America hosts. It’s like it was designed to be carved. Ed Davidson. On one hike through Spring Hammock in Seminole County a Basswood tree had toppled over. The leaf of the linden is much smaller than basswood and typically, it is a much smaller tree. In late winter, small reddish-brown buds appear on branch twigs. White basswood (var. And we’ve lived here 16yrs! Taken together, the basswood tree varieties occupy most of the central and eastern U.S. Virens (Latin for greening)/Flickr/CC BY 2.0. all over the country, with basswood trees often lining the sidewalks. Their nutlike flavor signals that you've found a basswood tree. If you have them in your area,check your honey supers often. Basswoods readily sprout from stumps, the suckers able to grow into mature trees when the original dies from old age, fire or other causes and given a leg up on seed-sprouted basswoods because of the existing root system. The leaves of all the Tilia species are heart-shaped and most are asymmetrical. They’re also big, often 7 or more inches long and 4 inches wide, substantially bigger than most of the Eurasian lindens, such as the littleleaf and silver lindens, commonly planted as street trees in the U.S. The greatest species diversity of the lindens is found in Asia. The Basswood trees are in full bloom. The rich green upper side of the leaf is in contrast to the underleaf's paler green to almost-white color. In fall, the leaves brighten to a yellowish-green chartreuse or golden yellow, sometimes intermixed with pale green foliage. It does make our drive and sidewalks look like sawdust all over, but I don’t care. The fast-growing American basswood is among the largest trees of eastern and central North America. Fast-growing and deciduous, basswood trees generally reach a mature height of 65 to 70 feet, growing about 24 inches per season. Steve Nix is a natural resources consultant and a former forest resources analyst for the state of Alabama. https://naturalresources.extension.iastate.edu/.../trees/basswood.html American basswood is native to the Chicago area and is often used as a specimen or dense shade tree. Mild, slightly sweet, tender. Those basswood flowers, which tend to appear from late spring to early summer and are prized both for their perfume and their honey, turn into round, quarter-inch nuts in fall, hanging from the dried and browned bract. It exists only scattered in pockets throughout Europe and eastern North America. Tilia is a genus within the Linden family (Tiliacea). In a good year,they are able to fill a super in 2-4 days. In the growing season, basswood leaves tend to be a deep green with a paler underside. Reply. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, American Basswood Trees: A Desirable Wood and Landscape Tree, Illustrations of Common Eastern United States Trees by Charles Sprague Sargent, The Most Common North American Hardwood Trees, How to Identify Common North American Trees, Aspen Tree - The Most Common Broadleaf Tree in Western North American, Identification of the Most Common Hardwoods, How to Identify the Common Black Walnut Tree, A Complete Fall Color and Autumn Leaf Viewing Guide, How to Identify Maple, Sycamore, Yellow-Poplar, and Sweetgum Leaves, Identify Common Major Hickory Species in North America, The 5 Most Common North American Maple Trees, Using Tree Anatomy and Physiology for Identification, Observing a Tree: Understand a Tree at a Deeper Level, B.S., Forest Resource Management, University of Georgia. It took several times examining the tree to see what was going on- Japanese beetles! Linden tree wood, including that of basswoods, is prized among cabinetmakers and instrument builders, while the broad leaves and fragrant flowers make these hardwoods popular street and shade trees. Flowers emit a beautiful and relaxing scent, sometimes it can be too strong. The undersides of Carolina and white basswood leaves, meanwhile, often remain hairy into maturity. The trees are sometimes called "lime" in Britain and "linden" in parts of Europe and North America. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. They are especially hardy, tolerant of alkaline soils, visited by few destructive insects and exhibit a natural, pyramidal shape that requires little pruning. This means that pairs of branches extend off of the tree from the same point but on opposite sides. But this was prime leafing out season and though toppled it was putting on leaves and I ate my fill. heterophylla) is found from Missouri to Alabama. He’s written for a variety of outlets, including Earth Touch News, RootsRated, Backpacker, Terrain.org, and Atlas Obscura, and is presently working on a field guide. caroliniana) is found from Oklahoma to North Carolina and south to Florida. Their crowns tend to be more irregular-looking, and the trees often exhibit leaning or multiple trunks. In Britain and Ireland they are commonly called lime trees, or lime bushes, although they are not closely related to the tree that produces the lime fruit. The rich green upper side of the leaf is in contrast to the underleaf's paler green to almost-white color. The tree will often support several trunks off its base, will prolifically sprout from stumps, and is a great seeder. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. in Wildlife Ecology and a graduate certificate in G.I.S. Carolina Basswood (Tilia caroliniana).The Carolina Basswood is characterized by its grey bark and abundant, fragrant white flowers. The small clustered flowers, which range in color from creamy to yellowish or greenish, hang by a long stalk from a modified leaf called a bract that’s 4 to 5 inches in length and tongue-shaped. In fact, in some parts of its range basswood is known as the bee-tree, and can even be identified by the honey bee traffic. Also, take a close look at the twigs and you will see them zigzag between oval buds with one or two bud scales. Go to google images and look at the carvings of Grinling Gibbons. In Europe and Asia, members of this genus are generally called lindens or limes. Carolina basswoods are smaller trees, normally growing 20 to 40 feet tall with a trunk less than two feet in diameter. Basswood leaves, which are deciduous, are highly distinctive. Chippewa National Forest: Autumn Tree Identification, U.S. Department of Agriculture: Plant Guide – Carolina Basswood, The Sibley Guide to Trees, David Allen Sibley, The Complete Trees of North America: Field Guide and Natural History; Thomas S. Elias, USDA Forest Service: Silvics of North America – American Basswood, USDA Forest Service: Silvics of North America – White Basswood. In North America, basswoods are important and widespread members of central and eastern deciduous forests, and – outside of their winter barrenness, anyway – are quite easy to tell apart from the maples, beeches, ashes and other trees they commonly mingle with. Basswood, also known as American Linden, is a large native North American tree that can grow more than 80 feet tall. Basswood leaves are made of glossy reddish brown twigs and are broadly oval-shaped, dark green above and glossy green underneath. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lindens are slow growers and will take many years to … Not uncommon in Florida. When walking the road or trails, you may smell the sweet smell of flowering basswood. Its heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers in June make it especially attractive for people, while songbirds and blue jays are attracted to its seeds and use the tree for shelter. The most common name for the tree in North America is American basswood (Tilia americana), but there are several varieties with separate names. Basswood flowers produce an abundance of nectar from which choice honey is made. The so-called Florida basswood is sometimes considered synonymous with the Carolina basswood, a subspecies of it or its very own species (T. floridana). It is recommended as an ornamental tree when a mass of foliage or a deep shade is desired. Ash trees always have opposite branching. The color ranges between dull gray and gray-brown to almost black. He holds a B.S. Maturing with an oval shape at heights of 60 to 80 feet tall and 20 to 40 feet wide, it becomes an impressive tree. Other names include linden for the European species, and basswood for North American species. The basswood's small greenish flowers are uniquely attached and hanging under a pale, leaflike bract. Carolina basswood (var. Basswood leaves are made of glossy reddish brown twigs and are broadly oval-shaped, dark green above and glossy green underneath. As in many broadleaf trees, the trunks of young basswoods wear smooth bark, but this roughens with age. Even more instantly recognizable than basswood leaves are the trees’ reproductive structures. Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees or bushes, native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. Ash trees have compound leaves, which are leaves that are made up of multiple leaflets instead of a single leaf. You see Linden Boulevard or Linden Street, etc. If the American basswood is defined separately from those forms, its range mainly includes the Midwestern and Northeastern United States and small portions of adjacent Canada. Even if you don't have basswood around, we are having a major honey flow at this time--check often. This family contains about 30 species of trees that are native throughout most of temperate Northern Hemisphere. They’re roughly heart-shaped and typically asymmetrical, with serrated edges and a pointed tip. The resulting seeds are in a hard, dry, hairy, nutlike fruit, which is quite visible during the fruiting season. To identify an ash tree, the first thing you should look for is opposite branching. The base of the leaf by the petiole stem looks like the uneven lobes of a heart. In addition to being a majestic tree in the landscape, basswood is a soft, light wood and prized for hand carvings and making baskets. Leaves: Alternate, broadly ovate, coarsely saw-toothed, notched at the base. The bark of older basswoods is thin and textured with ridges and furrows. Basswood's asymmetrical and lopsided heart-shaped leaf is the largest of all broadleaf trees, nearly as wide as it is long at between 5 and 8 inches. 1. This tree should not be confused with the non-native urban basswood called little leaf linden or Tilia cordata. Tilia americana is the northernmost basswood species. Often, suckering shoots sprout from the trunk or surface roots. Both types are good-sized trees: They often grow to 60 or 80 feet in height, with exceptional specimens of American basswood soaring to 130 feet or more tall and with trunks five or more feet across. Those other basswood types sometimes considered distinct species – or simply geographic varieties of the American basswood – include the white basswood (T. heterophylla) of the Appalachians primarily and the Carolina basswood (T. caroliniana) of the Southeast. His primary interests from both a fieldwork and writing perspective include landscape ecology, geomorphology, the classification of ecosystems, biogeography, wildlife/habitat relationships, and historical ecology. They’d never attacked this tree before! “Basswood” is the North American name for native trees of the genus Tilia, which includes roughly 30 species worldwide. Linden trees, sometimes called basswood or lime tree, are an excellent choice for the urban landscape. Now look at the tree’s leaves. Basswood Shape, Size & Growth Form The American and white basswood tree typically boasts straight trunks clear of lower branches that rise to fairly compact, spreading and broadly rounded canopies. The gray but thin bark on the straight trunk of basswood trees supports a well-branched structure of spreading, upright and slightly arching branches. Last year (2018) I had the leaves start dropping like crazy in the summer and found that they looked like lace! 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