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American basswood

Creamy clusters of basswood tree blooms and light-colored leaves

American basswood

About the basswood tree

American basswood (Linden tree) - Tilia americana

Identification: Basswood trees are recognized by their large, toothed, heart-shaped leaves and fragrant clusters of creamy flowers that open in late spring. Flowers become small nutlets in autumn, when the tree's foliage turns pale yellow and drops in cold weather. Bark is gray-brown, with narrow ridges.

Height: 60-100 feet 

Preferences: Full sun to partial shade. Hardiness zones 3-8. Prefers moist, well-drained soils. 

Wildlife value: A tree renowned by beekeepers, many species of pollinators including bees, butterflies and moths rely on the basswood's abundant nectar.

Game birds and songbirds will consume the tree's seeds, and the trees are browsed by whitetail deer. Cavity-nesting birds such as woodpeckers use the soft basswood for nesting.

Uses: The basswood tree's wood is soft and light. It is valued for woodcarving and for making boxes, veneer and pulp. 

Basswoods may be planted in a landscape setting for their fragrant flower clusters, and are valued by beekeepers for their nectar. 

Learn about pollinator-friendly landscaping trees