Lindens / Basswoods

Classification: Lindens
Scientific Name: Tilia
Genus: Tilia
Family: Tiliaceae

Trees in this genus are called “basswoods” in North America and “lindens” in most other places. Whatever you call them, the trees are native to the U.S., Europe, and Asia. It is frequently difficult to tell the species apart, especially since they can hybridize. They all have the typical Tilia bloom: a cyme on a bract. These flowers are loved by honeybees.

  • American Basswood / Basswood

    Scientific name: Tilia americana

    American Basswood / Basswood American Basswood / Basswood A deciduous native from New Brunswick to Virginia and west to Texas, the American basswood has small, fragrant, yellowish-white flowers in pendulous clusters suspended from bracts that bloom from June to July. This tree grows to 40-60 feet with a 20-25 foot spread. The trunk is straight and the foliage is dense. The leaves are huge compared to other lindens and they are bright green above and below.
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  • Big Leaf Linden

    Scientific name: Tilia platyphyllos

    Bigleaf Linden Bigleaf Linden This is a deciduous tree with a dense compact crown. It has small, fragrant, yellowish-white flowers in drooping clusters. The leaves, from 2-5 inches long, are the largest of the European species. The Linden is often used for street and park planting in Europe and the United States.
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  • Little Leaf Linden

    Scientific name: Tilia cordata

    Little Leaf Linden Little Leaf Linden This deciduous tree grows slowly to 30-50 feet with a 15-30 feet spread in a dense pyramid shape. The leaves are dark green above and silvery-blue below with buff-orange tufts in the vein axils. It blooms in July and is very popular with honeybees. It is native to Europe but widely grown in Portland as a street tree. The specific name is derived from the leaf shape: like a heart.
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