Other Common Names:
The other common names for the linden tree are Basswood, whitewood, bast tree, black lime tree, American lin tree, American lime tree, beetree, daddynut tree, monkeynut tree, whistlewood, white lind, red basswood, yellow basswood and wickup.
Linden and lime are the names various species of Tilia go by in Europe. Whitewood alludes to the pale colour of both the heartwood and sapwood. Basswood is called bee tree in some areas because the flowers of Tilia trees draw bees in droves.
The linden tree is commonly grown as shade and street trees in Europe and the northern U.S. Other members of the family are important for timber and fiber.A number of different species of the genus Tilia yield flowers that are used in folk medicine, but most of the commercial product is derived from T. cordata Mill. and T. platyphyllos Scop. The trees are generally called linden in North America, and lime in Britain. Neither the name nor the tree is in any way related to the citrus fruit called "lime". The common name used in North America is Basswood, derived from bast, the name for the inner bark.
The Linden tree is pyramidal as a young tree, and matures into an upright tree with a pillar-like trunk and a canopy-like top. Young trees are columnar; mature trees develop a broad, spreading crown. The trunk is straight, free of branches for a considerable height, and the bark is light brown and smooth, becoming darker and deeply furrowed on older trees.
Leaves are one-sided, dark green, and heart-shaped. 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. Tiny fruits resembling peas hang among the foliage and are small, globose, downy, hard and dry cream-colored nutlet with a diameter of 8-10 mm.
This tree is a native to eastern North America. Basswood ranges from south-western New Brunswick and New England west in Quebec and Ontario to the southeast corner of Manitoba; south through eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas to north-eastern Oklahoma; east to northern Arkansas, Tennessee, western North Carolina; and northeast to New Jersey
Basswood grows in moist mixed hardwood forests, often associated with maples, oaks, and ashes. It is commonly seen in richly wooded areas and open forests and is cultivated in parkland and gentlemen's gardens. Linden tree thrives best in sun, moist, well drained fertile soil; tolerates dry soil and clay but not wet sites and the soil should be kept mulched.
This tree transplants readily and does best in deep, rich, moist, well-drained soils with full sun or partial shade. Never plant the American linden over a parking area, such as a driveway; the sticky nectar that drips from the flowers can damage car paint. Much of the seed produced in Britain is not viable, cut a few seedcases open to see if there is a seed inside. If possible, obtain fresh seed that is ripe but has not as yet developed a hard seed coat and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may germinate in the following spring though it could take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. It has a hard seed coat, embryo dormancy and a hard coat on the pericarp. All these factors mean that the seed may take up to 8 years to germinate. One way of shortening this time is to stratify the seed for 5 months at high temperatures (10°c at night, up to 30°c by day) and then 5 months cold stratification. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in spring just before the leaves unfurl and it takes 1 - 3 years. Suckers, when formed, can be removed with as much root as possible during the dormant season and replanted immediately.
The yellow fragrant flowers growing from a wing-like stalk are in bloom from June to August.
Pests and Diseases
Fire wounding of basswood increases susceptibility to butt rot: of trees with basal fire wounds. Trees are usually attacked by aphids which cover the ground and the leaves with sticky honeydew. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Flowers, young leaves and the inner bark of the linden tree are the most commonly used parts for its commercial and medicinal purposes.
• Linden tree in treating headaches and restlessness.
• Lime flowers (from Linden trees) are used in tea, and to treat colds, coughs, fevers, infections, high blood pressure, and as a diuretic, antispasmodic, and sedative.
• Flowers contain flavanoids which act as antioxidants, and tannins that act as an astringent.
• Linden flower tea contains mucilage that coat the throat to soothe inflammation and irritation.
• The inner bark is used as a tea for lung ailments, heartburn, and weak stomach. Also used inner bark as a poultice to draw out boils.
• Leaf, flower, and/or bud are commonly used as a tea or tincture for nervous headaches, digestion pain, restlessness, fevers, colds, flu, coughs, tension, and diarrhea. Sedative effects; antispasmodic.
• It is employed in the treatment of apoplexy, epilepsy and vertigo.
• Linden is an excellent remedy for stress and panic, and is used specifically to treat nervous palpitations.
• It is used as a tincture; linden is quite safe for children.
• Linden tree is also used in treating high blood pressure.
• Basswood is often used to make bee hives and honeycomb frames.
• The soft, light collared and light weight, straight grained wood of American linden is used in cabinetry, interior paneling and trim, for musical instrument soundboards and for pulp.
• The tough and fibrous inner bark was probably used by all Native American peoples within its range for fabric, clothing, cordage, basketry, and canoe construction.
• Wood used for a variety of products including boxes venetian blinds, sashes, doors, picture frames and furniture.
• The honey that bees make from American linden flowers is said to be of the finest quality.
• The inner bark, or bast, can be used as a source of fiber for making rope or for weaving such items as baskets and mats.
• The emollient quality of the linden flowers are used to make a lotion for itchy skin.
• Double-flowered Lindens are used to make perfumes.
• Wood from the tree (basswood) is used for carvings, musical instruments, and window blinds.