Bark, silhouettes and buds are the three keys to identifying trees in winter. Buds of different tree species are so distinctive they are an excellent identification tool. American Basswood, also known as American Linden, (Tilia americana) has plump, oval, asymmetrical reddish or green buds, which bear only one or two bud scales.
The bud that forms at the end of a branch is referred to as the terminal bud and those along the length of the branch are lateral buds. In the case of Basswood, the bud at the tip of the branch is a “false” terminal bud, because it is actually a lateral bud that has assumed the function of the terminal bud. When the growing tip of the branch withers or falls away, the closest lateral bud to the twig tip substitutes as a terminal bud.