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Tilia Americana from Histoire Des Arbres Forestiers De l'Amérique Septentrionale (1810)
Tilia Americana from Histoire Des Arbres Forestiers De l'Amérique Septentrionale (1810)

Tilia americana

The American basswood, also known as the American linden, is a tall (up to 130 feet!) deciduous native to North America, growing naturally in much of the eastern U.S. and into Ontario and southern Quebec.

Basswoods aren’t terribly picky—they can grow in sun, part shade and shade—and tolerate both dry and moist conditions, though they prefer moist, well-drained, rich and loamy soils. This stately beauty has the habit of sprouting around a base to produce a clump of very tall trees, with a dense crown of drooping branches bearing almost heart-shaped leaves that offer deep shade in the dog days of summer.

Rich green in the summer, basswood trees turn yellowish in the fall, but often with a lot of brown, making them rather unsightly players in the foliage show of autumn.

What they lack in fall splendor, however, they make up for in the abundance of inconspicuous but abundant flowers across a long blooming season (April to July) which attract and feed large populations of bees. Have a pot of honey in your cupboard? There’s a very good chance it was made with nectar that busy buzzers extracted from American basswood blossoms! No wonder, then, that a popular nickname for this gorgeous tall beauty in our landscapes is the “Bee-tree.”


Go to the Coloring Sheet

Map of Basswood Trees on the Cornell Campus

One Basswood's Projected Benefits

Every tree provides both function and value, from shade and wildlife habitats to CO2 sequestration and stormwater retention. To help us appreciate some of the benefits of the trees around us, iTree Design has developed a tool to calculate the main financial benefits of a given tree in a specific location over time.

Note that these monetary values will vary greatly based on where the tree stands; energy usage for indoor spaces will not be reduced by a tree placed far from a building, for example. These numbers refer to a specific basswood tree located here on the Ag Quad.

Total Projected Benefits of this Basswood (2020-2045)

Over the next 25 years, based on forecasted tree growth, i-Tree Design projects total benefits worth $284.

$224 of savings by reducing 9,620 lbs. of atmospheric carbon dioxide through CO2 sequestration and decreased energy production needs and emissions

$57 of storm runoff savings by avoiding 6,351 gallons of stormwater runoff (intercepting 65,808 gallons of rainfall)

$3 of air quality improvement savings by absorbing and intercepting pollutants such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter; reducing energy production needs; and lowering air temperature

$0 of summer energy savings by direct shading and air cooling effect through evapotranspiration

$0 of winter energy savings by slowing down winds and reducing home heat loss

Basswood Coloring Page

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Basswoods on the Cornell Campus