American Basswood - <em>Tilia americana</em> - Zone 4 -

American Basswood - Tilia americana - Zone 4

Basswoods are large and rapid growing deciduous trees native to the central and eastern regions of North America. They are a premier tree for honey production and have been cultivated by peoples of this region since at least 1752.

HeightAvailabilityPriceQuantitySubtotal
1-3 Feetin stock$30.00$0.00
10 x 1-3 Feetin stock$250.00$0.00
Total$0.00

The Tree

Basswoods typically have long life spans, being able to reach 200 years. They can attain heights of up to 30 metres, diameters of 1 metre and spreads equal to about half their height. Growing in open space, the basswood will develop a tall straight trunk, topped with a dense and symmetrical crown. However, being extremely vigorous they have a tendency to shoot new trunks from the roots and if not controlled develop in clumps. These vigorous tendencies also allow the tree to survive and reshoot after forest fires.  As a young tree the bark is thin and smooth; grey-green in colour. As the tree ages the bark develops long shallow furrows and flat ridges. Basswoods are fast-growing trees, often growing at twice the rate of other North American hardwoods including beech, birch and sugar maple. Extremely adaptable, they are easy to transplant and thrive in almost all light and soil conditions, dealing well with drought and air pollution. They will do best with ample sunlight and in well-drained, nitrogen rich soils.

Its Uses

The name ‘Basswood’ is derived from the term ‘bast’ meaning the strong fibres of the interior bark used for cordage. The Native Americans used these trees extensively for this purpose in addition to using the leaves, flowers and cambium for their comestible and medicinal applications. Some tribes also carved ritual masks on living trees and then cut the mask away; if the tree survived the mask was believed to have supernatural powers. The flowers are very fragrant and presently are used for beauty products and cold remedies. These flowers are also a favourite of bees and the tree is considered to produce the very best honey. The oil from the tree’s seedpods can be used as a substitute for olive oil. As timber, the wood is soft and workable, ideal for woodcarvers and is a popular wood in the making of solid body electric guitars.

CharacteristicValue
Height at maturity30 metres (100 feet)
Spacing15 metres (50 feet)
Hardiness zone4
SoilVery adaptable, nitrogen rich
Sun / shadeVery adaptable. Full sun, partial shade.
Flowering
Harvestn/a
Average fruit weightn/a
Fruit colorn/a
Years to bear fruitn/a
Pollinationn/a
Latin nameTilia americana
Average diameter of fruitn/a
Also known asAmerican Linden, American Lime