Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Basswood
(Tilia americana)

Other common names: American Linden, White-wood

French names: Tilleul d'Amérique

Family: Mallow Family (Malvaceae), (Linden Family (Tiliaceae))

Distinctive features: Tree; Roundish leaves, large buds.

Flowers: Summer

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Toothed;  Large, roundish.

Trunk: Older bark divides into long & narrow vertical ridges or plates. Bark makes excellent cordage (see Notes).

Habitat: Forests, Fields and Open Areas;  Forests.

Books: Trees in Canada: 280   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Notes: For more info on making cordage, visit the Wildwood Survival website, cordage section.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: : American


Photographs: 133 photographs available, of which 16 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Basswood leaves.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Closer view of a leaf. Note the numerous obvious teeth, and the roundish shape.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Young leaves in the spring (mid-May).

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Basswood bark. It is often said that Basswood develops horizontal patterns of holes resembling sapsucker holes. This is true, but sapsuckers DO like Basswood. This photo shows sapsucker holes. The holes that develop naturally on Basswood bark are nowhere near as obvious as these.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

A grove of three Basswood trees growing close together. This is a common trait of this species. If you cut down a Basswood tree, the stump quickly sends up numerous young shoots, each of which can grow into a tree.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Basswood bark typically divides into vertical plates. Basswood is ideal for carving, as it doesn't splinter easily.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Another form of Basswood bark; more ridged. Sort of resembles that of Red Oak (Quercus rubra).

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Winter twig, showing the large buds. The buds are edible, although somewhat mucilaginous.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Another winter twig.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Basswood bark makes excellent strong cordage. It consists of long interwoven fibres that form an interlocking weave. It peels readily from the tree and is easy to work with. Bark from dead Basswood limbs provides the best material. The best dead limbs are ones that have been dead for a week or two. Any longer and the bark will have dried out a lot.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

This photos shows how the bark peels in a nice long string.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

A closeup view of the bark fibres.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

A length of finished Basswood bark cordage. For more info on making cordage, visit the Wildwood Survival website, cordage section.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

Flower buds in early June.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

A very young Basswood tree. Note the large leaves.

Basswood (Tilia americana)

An older tree.


Range map for Basswood (Tilia americana)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)