The Tilia species are deciduous trees that grow in northern temperate climates and may live as long as 1,000 years and reach heights of up to 90 feet. Tilia americana, also known as the American basswood or linden, has a large round crown that makes the species an excellent shade tree on warm, sunny summer days.
Basswoods are also prized for their beautiful and fragrant flowers. In June and July, between shiny green heart-shaped leaves, small creamy colored blossoms exude a delightful smell similar to that of honey. Bees frequently visit the aromatic blooms to partake of their sweet nectar. The honey produced by bees that feed solely on basswood trees is pale and has a unique, but delicious flavor.
Basswood trees, which are the softest of the hardwoods, have tall, straight trunks and are used by humans for a variety of purposes. Frequently a choice of wood carvers, basswood is generally lightweight, light-colored, and has a fine, even texture. Basswood timber is most often used in the manufacture of cooking utensils, furniture, toys, veneer, paper pulp, pianos, and guitars. The fiber of the inner bark of basswood trees is also useful and can be employed to make items such as baskets and mats. Native Americans even used the material to construct an especially durable form of rope.