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American Basswood Fruits

American Basswood (Tilia americana) is known for the alluring scent and abundant nectar of its flowers, as well as its lightweight, odorless wood which lends itself to the production of food crates and boxes, musical instrument parts, yard sticks and cabinets.  Equally distinctive are the nutlets that are borne on a stem bearing a persistent bract, or modified leaf, that aids in the wind dispersal of the fruit.

Most of the nutlets are eaten in the fall by chipmunks, mice, squirrels, porcupines and rabbits, but some persist until winter winds detach them from the tree and they fall to the ground. Basswood trees are not as dependent on seed germination as many other species due to their ability to put out new shoots from their stump or roots if cut down or damaged (self-coppicing).

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5 responses

  1. Janie Swift

    And…basswood blossoms are the source of the most delectable honey ever!

    March 4, 2020 at 8:35 am

  2. Alice

    They are such interesting & beautiful & useful trees.

    March 4, 2020 at 8:36 am

  3. Barbara Bates

    Dear Mary,

    I recall from my Chesapeake Bay days that basswood is also the wood favored for decoy carving.

    Barbara Bates Newton, MA

    Sent from my iPad


    March 4, 2020 at 9:05 am

  4. Eva Fierst

    The European version of the American Linden Tree is beloved as a symbol of peace. It used to be planted in the middle of the town where the community gathered. Its fragrant blossoms are valued to make a health tea which boosts the immune system.

    March 4, 2020 at 10:20 am

  5. Jay

    We lost a basswood when the graft above the root died, but the rootstock produced another shoot and we now have a beautiful 30 foot tree, grown solely from the root.

    March 4, 2020 at 10:41 am

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