|Tilia americana subsp. var.||American Linden, Basswood|
Tilia americana is a species of Tilia, native to eastern North America, from southeast Manitoba east to New Brunswick, southwest to northeast Texas, and southeast to South Carolina, and west along the Niobrara River to Cherry County, Nebraska. Common names include Basswood (also applied to other species of Tilia in the timber trade) and American Linden or the Lime-Tree.
It is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree reaching a height of 60 to 120 ft (exceptionally 129 ft) with a trunk diameter of 3-4 ft at maturity. The crown is domed, the branches spreading, often pendulous. The bark is gray to light brown, with narrow, well defined fissures. The roots are large, deep, and spreading. The twigs are smooth, reddish-green, becoming light gray in their second year, finally dark brown or brownish gray, marked with dark wart-like excrescences. The winter buds are stout, ovate-acute, smooth, deep red, with two bud scales visible. The leaves are simple, alternately arranged, ovate to cordate, inequalateral at the base (the side nearest the branch the largest), 10-15 cm (can grow up to 25 cm) long and broad, with a long, slender petiole, a coarsely serrated margin and an acuminate apex. They open from the bud conduplicate, pale green, downy; when full grown are dark green, smooth, shining above, paler beneath, with tufts of rusty brown hairs in the axils of the primary veins; the small stipules fall soon after leaf opening. The fall color is yellow-green to yellow. Both the twigs and leaves contain mucilaginous sap. The flowers are small, fragrant, yellowish-white, 10–14 mm diameter, arranged in drooping, cymose clusters of 6–20 with a whitish-green leaf-like bract attached for half its length at the base of the cyme; they are perfect, regular, with five sepals and petals, numerous stamens, and a five-celled superior ovary. Flowering is in early to mid summer; pollination is by bees. The fruit is a small, globose, downy, hard and dry cream-colored nutlet with a diameter of 8-10 mm.
It is recommended as an ornamental tree when the mass of foliage or a deep shade is desired; no native tree surpasses it in this respect. It is often planted on the windward side of an orchard as a protection to young and delicate trees. It is cultivated at least as far north as Juneau, Alaska.
The foliage and flowers are both edible, though many prefer only to eat the tender young leaves. It is a beneficial species for attracting pollinators as well. Bees produce excellent honey from its blossoms.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Tilia americana, Linn. (T. glabra, Vent.). Tree, to 120 ft.: young branchlets glabrous, green: lvs. broadly ovate, abruptly acuminate, cordate or truncate at the base, coarsely serrate, the teeth long-pointed, dark green above, light green beneath with tufts of hairs in the axils of the lateral veins, but wanting at the base, 4-6 in. long, turning yellow in autumn: cymes pendulous, many-fld.: bract stalked, tapering toward the base: staminodes present: fr. ovoid or globose, without ribs, tomentose, thick-shelled. July. Canada, south to Va. and Ala., west to N. Dak., Kans., and E. Texas.
Var. macrophylla, Hort. (var. mississippiensis, Hort.). A large-lvd. form. —This species is frequently planted as an avenue tree. Its wood is much used in the manufacture of woodenware, cheap furniture, panels of carriages, and also of paper pulp. CH
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It may be propagated by cuttings and grafting as well as by seed.
Pests and diseases
subject to the attacks of many insect enemies
Cultivars include 'Nova', 'Duros' (with an upright crown), the pyramidal 'Frontyard' and the conic-crowned 'Redmond'.
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
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