The American linden, often also called the American basswood, is most noted for its creamy-yellow and very fragrant flowers that begin to bloom in June in hanging clusters. When this tree is in full bloom, it is often filled with so many bees that you may be able to hear their humming from many feet away. American linden honey is considered to be a gourmet item. These flowers are also sometimes used to make tea. Small, rounded nutlets follow the flowers, attracting small mammals. This tree also has noteworthy, heart-shaped, and coarsely serrated leaves, which are dark green with silvery undersides.
Family: Tiliaceae (Linden)
Characteristics: The 4-8 inch long leaves are heart shaped, coarsely toothed, and dark green with silvery undersides. In the fall, leaves turn a pale yellow. In June, fragrant creamy-yellow flowers begin to bloom in hanging clusters. These flowers are followed by small, round nutlets. Bark is gray and ridged, though when the tree is young, the bark is shiny and smooth. This tree is pyramidal in youth and becomes oval-rounded with age. It grows 60-80 feet high and 20-40 feet wide.
Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)
Geographic Origin: Central and Eastern North America (native)
Cultivation Notes: Requires low maintenances. Does best in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist and well-drained soils. This tree is tolerant of drought conditions, though mostly intolerant to air pollution and urban conditions.
Number on Campus: 3
Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden