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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

The wood of American Basswood is light, fine-grained, and soft. It has been used to make hand-carved articles, boxes, wooden toys, bodies of electric guitars, cheap furniture, and pulp for paper. The name 'Basswood' derives from the word 'bast.' This refers to the stringy inner bark of this tree, which was used to make rope, woven baskets, mats, and fish nets. In addition to 'Basswood,' trees in this genus are referred to as 'Linden' and 'Lime' trees. The name 'Basswood' usually refers to North American species, while 'Linden' and 'Lime' refer to European species. However, this distinction is not always observed
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

 This tree is 50-100' tall at maturity, forming a relatively stout central trunk and an oblongoid to globoid crown. Trees in open areas have wider crowns than those in forested areas. The major branches of the crown are ascending (toward the top), widely spreading (toward the middle), or descending (toward the bottom). Trunk bark of mature trees is longitudinally furrowed with flat-topped ridges and rough-textured; it is mostly gray, except at the bottom of the furrows, where it is partially brown. The ridges are occasionally interrupted by horizontal fissures. Branch bark is gray and smooth with small inconspicuous lenticels, while twigs are reddish brown to light green and terete. Both the emergent leaves and their shoots are yellowish green and canescent to pubescent when they first appear during the spring, but they later become glabrous. At the base of each newly emerging leaf, there is a thickened deciduous bract that is greenish or reddish yellow, oblong in shape, and canescent. These emergent bracts wither away a short time later. Alternate leaves are arranged in two-ranks along first-year twigs. Mature leaf blades are typically 4-6" long and 3-4½" across, although the leaf blades of saplings growing in the shade can be up to 8" long and 6" across. Each leaf blade is orbicular cordate, cordate, or ovate-cordate with sharply serrated edges; the base of each blade is cordate to nearly truncate. The upper surface of the leaf blade is medium to dark green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale green and mostly glabrous, except for small tufts of hair in the axils of the veins. Leaf venation is mostly pinnate, except for the lowest 1-2 pairs of lateral veins, which are palmate because they originate from the base of the blade. Drooping cymes of flowers about 1-3" across develop from the axils of the leaves. The peduncle of each cyme is about 4" long; the lower half of the peduncle adheres to about the middle of an elongated floral bract (about 4" long and ¾" across), while its upper half is naked. This floral bract is light green and linear-oblong to linear-oblanceolate in shape. The peduncle divides into pedicels with 5-20 flowers. Individual flowers are about ½" across, consisting of 5 cream-colored petals, 5 cream-colored sepals, a pistil with a white style, and several stamens with yellow anthers. The blooming period occurs during the early summer for about 2 weeks. The flowers are fragrant. Fertile flowers are replaced by small nutlets about ¼" across. At maturity during the fall, the nutlets are gray-brown, globoid, and canescent; they are dry, hard, and usually single-seeded. Because of the persistent bracts on their peduncles, the nutlets are distributed by the wind, although they usually don't travel far from the mother tree. The woody root system consists of widely spreading lateral roots. The deciduous leaves become yellow to yellowish green during the fall.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

General: Basswood family (Tiliaceae). Native, large deciduous trees, the bark gray and furrowed with flat ridges. Leaves deciduous, alternate, more or less unevenly heart-shaped or the base often nearly truncate, petiolate, the blades 5-12.5 cm wide, thick and slightly leathery, with shallowly toothed margins, glabrous on both sides or with some pubescence on the lower surface. Flowers yellowish-white, 10-14 mm broad, fragrant and nectar-bearing, in drooping, 6-20-flowered clusters hanging on a stalk that diverges from near the center of an oblong, leaflike and strongly veined bract 5-10 cm long. Fruits mostly globose, 8-10 mm broad, hard and dry, indehiscent. The common name is from “bastwood,” referring to use of the inner bark, the “bast,” for rope, baskets, etc.

Variation within the species:

North American basswoods have been separated into many species (usually three or four) or treated as several varieties within only a single species. “Given the inconstancy of most vegetative and reproductive characters [of North American basswood], the ecophenic, ecotypic, and seasonal variation in vestiture, and also the probability of introgression,” trichome morphology provides the best evidence for recognizing the component taxa (see Hardin 1990).

a. Tilia americana var. americana

synonym: Tilia neglecta Spach

b. Tilia americana var. heterophylla (Vent.) Loud.

synonym: Tilia heterophylla Vent.

synonym: Tilia michauxii Nutt.

c. Tilia americana var. caroliniana (P. Mill.) Castigl.

synonym: Tilia caroliniana P. Mill.

synonym: Tilia floridana Small

The varieties of Tilia americana intergrade, but in their typical forms are separated as follows:

a. Leaves green beneath, sometimes glaucous, glabrous or sparsely hairy with simple trichomes, sometimes with a few stellate ones. var. americana

a. Leaves pale or whitish beneath from the close tomentum of dense, sessile-stellate trichomes, sometimes glabrate with age but remaining stellate-pubescent at least along the major veins. (b)

b. Young twigs tomentose or tomentose-hirsute; clusters of hairs on leaves more than 0.5 mm wide.

var. caroliniana

b. Young twigs glabrous; clusters of hairs on leaves less than 0.5 mm wide. var. heterophylla

Trees identified as Tilia neglecta may be variants of var. americana or they have been suggested to be introgressants between var. americana and var. heterophylla. Tilia floridana is often recognized as separate entity.

Distribution: Tilia americana is native to the Northern Deciduous and Great Lakes - St. Lawrence forest regions of North America. It also extends into grassland areas along river courses in Manitoba and the mid-western United States, where it forms a component of riverine gallery forests. In Canada, it is found from western New Brunswick into southern and central Québec and Ontario, extending as far west as north-western Ontario (along the U.S. border) and southern Manitoba. In the United States, the species occurs as far south as the mountainous regions of North Carolina, Tennessee, and northern Arkansas. The western limit for the species is south-central Manitoba and North Dakota, and along the Niobrara River in north-central Nebraska. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

Linn, American linden, white basswood (var. heterophylla), American basswood

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native American Basswood is occasional to common throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic upland and bottomland woodlands, sandy woodlands, stabilized sand dunes near Lake Michigan, riverbanks, and slopes of wooded ravines. Because of its shade tolerance, American Basswood is a late successional to mature canopy tree in deciduous woodlands. Sometimes it is codominant with Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). This tree is occasionally cultivated in yards and city parks. Because of its relatively thin bark, resistance to fire is poor, although this tree can resprout from its stumps.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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The native range of basswood extends from southwestern New Brunswick and
Maine west to southern Quebec, southern and western Ontario, Michigan,
Minnesota, and southeastern Manitoba; south to eastern North
Dakota, northern and eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, and northeastern
Oklahoma; east to northern Arkansas, Tennessee, western North Carolina,
and New Jersey [47].
  • 47. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]

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Occurrence in North America

AR CT DE IL IN IA KS KY ME MD
MA MI MN MO NE NH NJ NY NC ND
OH OK PA RI SC SD TN VT VA WV
WI MB NB ON PQ

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Adaptation

Basswood occurs on rich, mesic sites (coves, lower slopes, river bottoms), usually on deep, well-drained soils. It rarely occurs in pure stands but is usually mixed with other forest species. Var. americana is codominant in the sugar maple-basswood cover type and all varieties are a common component of many other rich forests. Basswood occurs up to 1500 meters elevation in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Flowering May-June (-July), usually 1-4 weeks after the leaves appear in mid-May. Seeds are dispersed in October.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: cyme, indehiscent, tree

Basswood is a native deciduous tree. Mature heights range from 75 to
130 feet (23-40 m) with diameter ranges from 36 to 48 inches (91-122 cm)
[16]. The bark of mature trees is up to 1 inch (2.54 cm) thick at the
base of the trunk [2,15]. The bark is furrowed into narrow,
flat-topped, firm ridges with characteristic horizontal cracks; young
trees have smooth, thin bark [15]. The inflorescence is a drooping
axillary cyme. The fruit is dry, hard, indehiscent, subglobose to
short-oblong, and is usually 0.2 to 0.28 inch (5-7 mm) in diameter, and
bears one or two seeds [29].

The root system of basswood is composed largely of lateral roots; it
does not usually form a taproot [16]. Basswood root depths are usually
shallow relative to associated species root depths. In prairie soils
bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa), shellbark hickory (Carya lacinosa), and
northern red oak all have deeper roots than does basswood. Maximum root
depth in basswood averages 1.2 feet (36.5 cm) the first year, and 5 to 6
feet (1.5-1.8 m) by the third year; roots are not well developed below
approximately 2 feet (61 cm) [73]. On prairie soils the deepest roots
of a 28-year-old basswood were 27 feet (8.2 m) but most of the roots
were in the top 4 to 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) of soil [74]. Adventitious
roots will develop as the stem is buried, as occurs on the sand dunes
near southern Lake Michigan [16].

The tree crown is usually broad and rounded, but in close stands is more
columnar. The branches are small, weak, and often pendulous [2].

Maximum longevity is approximately 200 years [16].
  • 2. Aikman, John M. 1926. Distribution and structure of the forests of eastern Nebraska. University Studies. 26(1-2): 1-75. [6575]
  • 15. Collingwood, G. H. 1937. Knowing your trees. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 213 p. [6316]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 29. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 73. Weaver, J. E. 1960. Flood plain vegetation of the central Missouri Valley and contacts of woodland with prairie. Ecological Monographs. 30(1): 37-64. [275]
  • 74. Yeager, A. F. 1935. Root systems of certain trees and shrubs grown on prairie soils. Journal of Agricultural Research. 51(12): 1085-1092. [3748]

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native American Basswood is occasional to common throughout Illinois (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic upland and bottomland woodlands, sandy woodlands, stabilized sand dunes near Lake Michigan, riverbanks, and slopes of wooded ravines. Because of its shade tolerance, American Basswood is a late successional to mature canopy tree in deciduous woodlands. Sometimes it is codominant with Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). This tree is occasionally cultivated in yards and city parks. Because of its relatively thin bark, resistance to fire is poor, although this tree can resprout from its stumps.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Habitat characteristics

Basswood is characteristically found in rich uplands on mid-slopes in
mixed deciduous forests. It is sometimes found in swamps [71].
Basswood is generally confined to sandy loams, loams, or silt loams, and
achieves its best growth on the finer textured soils. Best growth is on
mesic sites, but basswood will also grow on coarse soils that are well
drained. In Wisconsin basswood exhibits a bimodal distribution with
respect to moisture; it achieves peak importance values on wet-mesic
sites and on dry-mesic sites, but is "outcompeted" by sugar maple on mesic
sites [17]. In southern Wisconsin, maple-basswood forests are largely
restricted to northern exposures [2]. Basswood is moderately tolerant
of flooding; it occurs on floodplain sites that have probabilities of
annual flooding between 50 and 100 percent [54]. Acceptable soil pH
ranges from 4.5 to 7.5, though basswood occurs most often on less acidic
to slightly basic soils. Because basswood is nitrogen demanding it
grows poorly on nitrogen deficient soils [16].

At the western limits of its range, basswood usually grows on the
eastern side of lakes and along major drainages where it is naturally
protected from fire. Basswood is commonly found in ravines and
protected, moist sites at the prairie-woodlands interface in Nebraska
[2]. In North Dakota and Minnesota basswood achieves its highest
densities on intermediate slopes; it is found in lower numbers on both
the drier uplands and the wet bottomlands [72]. According to Crow [16],
basswood's distribution is more closely associated with edaphic and
moisture conditions than with fire.

The maximum elevation at which basswood is found is 4,930 feet (1500 m)
in the southern Appalachian Mountains [22].
  • 2. Aikman, John M. 1926. Distribution and structure of the forests of eastern Nebraska. University Studies. 26(1-2): 1-75. [6575]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 17. Curtis, John T. 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 657 p. [7116]
  • 22. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 54. Morris, L. A.; Mollitor, A. V.; Johnson, K. J.; Leaf, A. L. 1979. Forest management of floodplain sites in the northeastern United States. In: Johnson, R. Roy; McCormick, J. Frank, technical coordinators. Strategies for protection & mgmt of floodplain wetlands & other riparian ecosystems: Proceedings of the symposium; 1978 December 11-13; Callaway Gardens, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 236-242. [4364]
  • 71. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 72. Wanek, Wallace James. 1967. The gallery forest vegetation of the Red River of the North. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 190 p. Dissertation. [5733]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: codominant, mesic

Basswood generally occurs in mixed stands and rarely forms pure stands
[16]. It is codominant in the sugar maple (Acer saccharum)-basswood
cover type, and is a common component of many other mesophytic forests [24].

Associates in the sugar maple-basswood type include white ash (Fraxinus
americana), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), eastern hophornbeam
(Ostrya americana), red maple (A. rubrum), and American elm (Ulmus
americana) [16,24]. Typical sugar maple-basswood communities in
Wisconsin and Minnesota include 21 percent northern red oak, 35 percent
basswood, 17 percent sugar maple, and 17 percent other species [68]. To
the east, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) may be present, and
communities on mesic sites would be more like the following: 52 percent
sugar maple, 27 percent basswood, 14 percent yellow birch (Betula
alleghaniensis), 4 percent eastern hemlock, and 3 percent other species [68].

Publications in which basswood is listed as a dominant, codominant,
or indicator species include:

The vegetation of Wisconsin [17]
The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley [18]
Deciduous forest [31]
A forest classification for the Maritime Provinces [49]
A classification of the deciduous forest of eastern North America [53].
  • 24. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 17. Curtis, John T. 1959. The vegetation of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 657 p. [7116]
  • 18. Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ. Montreal. 147 p. [8925]
  • 31. Greller, Andrew M. 1988. Deciduous forest. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Billings, William Dwight, eds. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press: 288-316. [19544]
  • 49. Loucks, O. L. 1959. A forest classification for the Maritime Provinces. Proceedings, Nova Scotian Institute on Science. 25: 86-167. [15408]
  • 53. Monk, Carl D.; Imm, Donald W.; Potter, Robert L.; Parker, Geoffrey G. 1989. A classification of the deciduous forest of eastern North America. Vegetatio. 80: 167-181. [9297]
  • 68. Tubbs, Carl H. 1979. Northern hardwood ecology. In: North America's forests: gateway to opportunity: Proceedings of the 1978 joint convention of the Society of American Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Forestry. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 329-333. [10022]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K081 Oak savanna
K095 Great Lakes pine forest
K099 Maple - basswood forest
K100 Oak - hickory forest
K101 Elm - ash forest
K102 Beech - maple forest
K103 Mixed mesophytic forest
K104 Appalachian oak forest
K106 Northern hardwoods
K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest
K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES19 Aspen - birch

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

1 Jack pine
16 Aspen
20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple
21 Eastern white pine
23 Eastern hemlock
24 Hemlock - yellow birch
25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
26 Sugar maple - basswood
27 Sugar maple
28 Black cherry - maple
39 Black ash - American elm - red maple
42 Bur oak
52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak
55 Northern red oak
58 Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock
59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak

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Soils and Topography

Studies relating to the presence of basswood to soil  characteristics in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan indicate  that stands in which basswood shared dominance were generally  confined to sandy loams, loams, or silt loams, with basswood  obtaining maximum development on the finer textured soils. Most  soils were classified as Hapludalfs within the Alfisols order,  although some Eutrochrepts (Inceptisols), Cryandepts   (Inceptisols), mesic families of entic Fragiorthods (Spodosols),  and Haplorthods (Spodosols) were noted.

    Basswood grows best on mesic sites, but it is also found on coarse  soils such as the sand dunes near Lake Michigan (17) and on dry,  exposed rock ridges in Ontario and Quebec (25).

    The species grows on soils ranging in pH from 4.5 to 7.5 but  occurs more often in the less acidic to slightly basic part of  this range. In fact, calcareous soils have been associated with  the presence of basswood (9,17).

    The importance of aspect and edaphic factors to local distribution  is reflected by the restriction of basswood throughout much of  its range to moist sites on north- and east-facing slopes.  Maple-basswood forests in southern Wisconsin are largely  restricted to northerly exposures (19). Basswood is restricted to  more mesic sites in southern Illinois and in northern Kentucky  (5). At the western limit of its range, basswood frequently grows  on the eastern side of lakes and along major drainages. This  localized growth is often ascribed to fire protection. Although  lack of fire may be a reason for the persistence of a  fire-sensitive species such as basswood, presence and  distribution are controlled more by soil moisture and the  ameliorating effects of water on the local climate.

    Basswood is classified as a nitrogen-demanding species because it  grows poorly on sites deficient in nitrogen. With increasing  nitrogen supplies, basswood growth increases markedly,  approaching a maximum radial increment when 560 to 670 kg/ha (500  to 600 lb/acre) of nitrogen are added. Basswood leaves have high  contents of nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and potassium at the  time of leaf fall and they contribute most of these nutrients to  the forest floor (13,28).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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T. R. Crow

Source: Silvics of North America

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Dispersal

Establishment

Seed production begins in basswoods about 15 years old (or as early as 8 years) and continues until the trees reach at least 100 years. Heavy seed crops are irregular but good quantities of seed are produced at 1- to 3-year intervals. Germination in the first year or two is often poor, apparently because of an impermeable testa, but seeds may remain dormant and viable in seed banks for up to three years. Few established seedlings are found where the species forms a major component of the canopy, apparently because seedling loss from herbivory by rabbits and deer.

Seedlings can establish in as little as 25% of full sunlight, but heavy shade limits subsequent growth and development. Seedling growth begins slowly, but established young trees are fairly fast-growing. The typical life of a basswood is about 100 years but some are known to live 140-200 years.

Basswood stump sprouts are often very common, and this may produce trees growing in close clusters. Stump sprouts arise from the main stem after its death, fire or logging injury, or aging, or even after disturbance of the surrounding stand. Almost all basswoods 10 cm or less d.b.h. will sprout from the stump, and sprouts have been obtained from basswoods over 100 years old.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees, honeybees, Halictid bees (Green Metallic bees & others), Syrphid flies, Tachinid flies, blow flies, Muscid flies, moths, and other insects. Most of these floral visitors obtain nectar from the flowers. Many insects and some mites feed on the leaves, wood, and other parts of American Basswood (including other Tilia spp.); their damage is not usually serious, although the leaves and twigs are often disfigured by various gall-forming insects. The caterpillars of such moths as Catocala cerogama (Yellow-Banded Underwing), Ellida caniplaga (Linden Prominent), and Pantographa limata (Basswood Leafroller) feed on the foliage. See the Moth Table for a more complete listing of these species. The larvae of such long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae) as Dryobius sexnotatus (Six-Banded Longhorn Beetle), Saperda vestita (Linden Borer), and others bore through the wood (see Long-Horned Beetle Table). Other insect feeders include Popillia japonica (Japanese Beetle), the leaf beetles Baliosus nervosus (Basswood Leafminer) and Calligrapha tiliae (Basswood Calligrapha), Acrosternum hilaris (Green Stinkbug), Corythucha pallida (Pale Basswood Lace Bug) and Gargaphia tiliae (Basswood Lace Bug), the plant bugs Lygocoris tiliae and Neurocolpus tiliae, the treehopper Telamona reclivata, the leafhoppers Erythridula fumida and Erythridula vinariaEucallipterus tiliae (Yellow & Black Linden Aphid) and Longistigma caryae (Giant Bark Aphid), the larvae of Agromyza tiliae (Linden Bark Gall Fly) and Cecidomyia citrina (Linden Twig Gall Gnat), Thrips calcaratus (Introduced Basswood Thrips), and Diapheromera femorata (Northern Walkingstick). Several Eriophyes spp. (Gall Mites) form variously shaped galls on the foliage. The Insect Table provides a more complete list of these feeders. The value of American Basswood as a food source to vertebrate animals is more limited. The seeds/nutlets are consumed by the Bobwhite, Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, White-Footed Mouse, and Woodland Deer Mouse. White-Tailed Deer browse on the leaves and twigs, while rabbits browse on the foliage of seedlings and gnaw on the bark of saplings. Meadow Voles also gnaw on the bark of saplings
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Flower-Visiting Insects of American Linden in Illinois

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Associated Forest Cover

American basswood grows in mixture with other species and only  rarely forms pure stands. It is dominant in a single forest type,  Sugar Maple-Basswood (Society of American Foresters Type 26).  This cover type is most common in central Minnesota and western  Wisconsin but is represented elsewhere from central Illinois,  northward to southern Ontario and Quebec, eastward to  northwestern Ohio, and westward along valley slopes of the  prairie-forest transition (15).

    Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) dominates both overstory and  understory layers, with basswood achieving the position of second  dominant in the tree layer. Common associates are white ash (Fraxinus  americana), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), eastern  hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), red maple (Acer  rubrum), and American elm (Ulmus americana).

    Although not a dominant species, basswood is also found in the  following forest cover types:

    21 Eastern White Pine
  23 Eastern Hemlock
  20 White Pine-Northern Red Oak-Red Maple
  24 Hemlock-Yellow Birch
  27 Sugar Maple
  25 Sugar Maple-Beech-Yellow Birch
  28 Black Cherry-Maple
  60 Beech-Sugar Maple
  39 Black Ash-American Elm-Red Maple
  42 Bur Oak
  58 Yellow-Poplar-Eastern Hemlock
  62 Silver Maple-American Elm

    Basswood is one of the major species, with sugar maple, beech (Fagus),  ash (Fraxinus), hickory (Carya), and oak (Quercus),  in the Deciduous Forest Region of southern Ontario. It is a  minor component of the sugar maple-yellow birch-hemlock-white  pine climax forest type in the southern districts of the Great  Lakes-St. Lawrence regions of Ontario (32).

    In the Mixed Mesophytic forests of the southern Appalachians, Tilia  americana is replaced by T. heterophylla (9).  The genotypic distinction between these species is not always  clear, and T. americana does appear in the  northern part of the Mixed Mesophytic region.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

T. R. Crow

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Basswood plantations established on  weed-infested old-field sites are susceptible to girdling by mice  and voles, and completely girdled trees die. In a southern  Ontario plantation, 44 percent of the basswood stems were  completely girdled and 39 percent were partially girdled (41).  The species responsible for the girdling, the meadow vole, does  most of this damage feeding beneath the snow. Rabbits also feed   heavily on seedlings and small saplings in both plantations and  natural stands. Basswood seeds are eaten by mice, squirrels, and  chipmunks, thus reducing the chances of seedling establishment.

    Many different insects attack basswood, but few serious insect  problems exist. The linden borer (Saperda vestita) makes  long, irregular tunnels, particularly at the base of the tree,  and may damage weak, very young, or overmature trees. Local  infestations of defoliators may occur. The primary ones include  the linden looper (Erannis tiliaria), basswood leafminer  (Baliosus nervosus), spring cankerworm (Paleacrita  vernata), fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria), whitemarked  tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma), gypsy moth (Lymantria  dispar), and forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma  disstria) (1,22). In New England, American basswood is a  highly preferred host for gypsy moth (21), while in southern

    Quebec, it was classified as intermediate in susceptibility to  gypsy moth defoliation (27).

    The foliage is host to various diseases-anthracnose (Gnomonia  tiliae), black mold (Fumago vagans), and leaf spot  (Cercospora microsora)-but none seem to do serious  damage. The wood of basswood decays easily and once exposed can  be host to many of the common hardwood decay organisms such as  the yellow cap fungi (Pholiota limonella) and
Collybia  velutipes. Phellinus igniarius, Ustulina deusta,  and nectria canker (Nectria galligena) also are  found on basswood.

    Little defect is encountered in basswood when harvested before it  reaches 120 years of age. Beyond this age, the chances of losses  due to decay are greatly increased. Cull studies in the forests  of Ontario indicate that yellow-brown stringy rot was the most  common bole defect encountered; brown stain, some incipient  yellow rot, and green stain were also found (8).

    The thin bark of this species is easily damaged by fire (13).  Basswood is one of the hardwoods least susceptible to late spring  frosts (40).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

T. R. Crow

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: hardwood, resistance

The high heat value of basswood wood is reported as 8,342 Btu per pound,
the low heat value averages 7,817 Btu per pound. The rate of fire
spread under laboratory conditions for basswood wood is higher than that
in white fir (Abies concolor), sugar maple, southern magnolia (Magnolia
grandiflora), and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). Basswood contains an
oil that is rich in volatile fatty acids [26].

Small basswood slash, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, is usually very
quick to rot; that of most northern hardwood species, including
basswood, is almost completely decayed in 4 to 7 years. Under average
conditions, basswood logs and stumps are not a serious source of fire
danger after 10 to 12 years, and after 15 to 18 years, nothing remains
except mounds of moldy wood [62]. Basswood logs and slash are easily
water saturated, however, which slows the rate of decay [64].

Fuel values for herbicide-killed basswood (as firewood) have been
reported [12].

Prescribed fire is not recommended for established stands of hardwoods
in which basswood occurs; basal fire wounds increase susceptibility to
butt rot [39]. Use of fire in cut stands may improve resistance to butt
rot in the next generation of basswood, since fire lowers the level at
which stump sprouts form [57].
  • 12. Cassens, Daniel L.; Fischer, Burnell C. 1980. Fuel values of chemically deadened white oak and basswood trees. Forest Products Journal. 30(8): 38-39. [22211]
  • 26. Fons, W. L.; Clements, H. B.; Elliott, E. R.; George, P. M. 1962. Project Fire Model. Summary Progress Report-II. Period May 1, 1960, to April 30, 1962. Macon, GA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Southern Forest Fire Laboratory. 58 p. [16824]
  • 39. Hepting, George H.; Hedgcock, George G. 1935. Relation between butt rot and fire in some eastern hardwoods. Tech. Note 14. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Appalachian Forest Experiment Station. 2 p. [10186]
  • 57. Perala, Donald A. 1974. Growth and survival of northern hardwood sprouts after burning. Res. Note NC-176. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [7349]
  • 62. Scholtz, H. F. 1930. How long does hardwood slash remain a fire menace?. Journal of Forestry. 28: 568. [16386]
  • 64. Spaulding, Perley; Hansbrough, J. R. 1944. Decay of logging slash in the Northeast. Tech. Bull. No. 876. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 22 p. [14337]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: prescribed fire

The Research Project Summary Effects of surface fires in a mixed red and
eastern white pine stand in Michigan
and the Research paper by Bowles
and others 2007
provide information on prescribed fire and postfire response
of several plant species, including basswood, that was not available when
this species review was written.

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: competition, prescribed fire

A prescribed fire in an aspen stand in which basswood occurred
top-killed most of the trees in the stand. Those stems not killed by
the fire were felled to eliminate overstory competition. All of the
top-killed basswood stems sprouted (stems ranged in size from 4 to 17
inches [10-43 cm] in diameter), producing an average of 21 sprouts per
clump within 5 years of the fire [57].

Fire wounding of basswood increases susceptibility to butt rot [15]: of
trees with basal fire wounds, 100 percent of basswood stems had butt
rot, resulting in a cull rate of 39 percent [39].

Light surface fires favor sugar maple seedlings over basswood (and other
hardwoods). Hotter fires destroy existing reproduction of sugar maple
and create openings favoring basswood. Basswood sprouts are less
abundant in stands escaping fire for extremely long periods of time,
presumably because the heavy shade created by very dense stands is not
tolerated by basswood reproduction [50].
  • 15. Collingwood, G. H. 1937. Knowing your trees. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 213 p. [6316]
  • 39. Hepting, George H.; Hedgcock, George G. 1935. Relation between butt rot and fire in some eastern hardwoods. Tech. Note 14. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Appalachian Forest Experiment Station. 2 p. [10186]
  • 50. Maissurow, D. K. 1941. The role of fire in the perpetuation of virgin forests of northern Wisconsin. Journal of Forestry. 39(2): 201-207. [3445]
  • 57. Perala, Donald A. 1974. Growth and survival of northern hardwood sprouts after burning. Res. Note NC-176. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [7349]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

In Illinois a prescribed fall fire was conducted to open up areas that
had previously been classified as oak savanna. The low intensity fire
burned into adjacent closed canopy sugar maple-basswood forest. Fuel
loading in the closed forest was approximately 530 g/sq m. Mortality of
basswood stems under 4 inches in diameter (10 cm) was close to 10
percent (some of these were apparently only top-killed). Larger stems
were apparently unaffected by the fire [4].
  • 4. Apfelbaum, Steven I.; Haney, Alan W. 1990. Management of degraded oak savanna remnants in the upper Midwest: preliminary results from three years of study. In: Hughes, H. Glenn; Bonnicksen, Thomas M., eds. Restoration `89: the new management challenge: Proceedings, 1st annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration; 1989 January 16-20; Oakland, CA. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Society for Ecological Restoration: 280-291. [14705]

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Post-fire Regeneration

Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: climax, cover, fire frequency, fire regime, frequency, fuel, hardwood, litter, presence, root crown, severity, shrubs, succession, tree, wildfire

Basswood is rated as a fire sensitive species; the thin bark is easily
damaged by fire, as are the shallow roots [16]. However, basswood that
has been top-killed by fire will sprout vigorously from the root crown [71].

Basswood is most common in forests with long fire-free intervals. Fire
suppression has apparently encouraged its increase. In the absence of
fire, paper birch (Betula papyrifera)-eastern white pine-bur oak forests
are being replaced in by basswood, balsam fir (Abies balsamea), and
black ash (Fraxinus nigra) in the north-central states [1]. Basswood
and sugar maple usually replace postfire aspen stands (Populus
tremuloides and P. grandidentata) on rich, moist sites in Minnesota
[33]. The presence of sugar maple-basswood stands is correlated with
longer fire-free intervals in Minnesota; pines (including white pine,
red pine [Pinus resinosa] and jack pine [P. banksiana]) and aspens
occur on sites that burn more frequently [14]. In jack pine or red
pine-white pine stands which experience frequent fire, basswood is rare
[36]. Basswood occurs in moist canyons in Nebraska that appear to be
refuges from fire [35]. Also in Nebraska, basswood and other hardwoods
are more common than they were 130 years ago, and it is thought that
this is related to a decrease in the frequency and severity of fires
[60]. In New England northern hardwood forests that include basswood
typically have fire-free periods on the order of 800 to more than 2,000
years [25].

Many authors report that hardwood forests including basswood are
encroaching onto former grasslands since fires have been suppressed
[1,3,38,60,72]. In Iowa oak savanna is replaced by dense sugar
maple-basswood forest process in approximately 200 years without fire
[56]. In Wisconsin basswood are invading mixed oak stands from which
they had formerly been excluded by wildfire [13]. However, Auclair and
Cottam [5] stated that this is not a general trend; succession to sugar
maple-basswood is confined to specific sites largely because of
fragmentation of forests and the resultant lack of seed sources. They
do concur that red oak stands may represent sugar maple-basswood sites
that have either been retrogressed to oak by fire, or from which sugar
maple and basswood have been excluded by fire [5].

A stand of basswood and eastern hophornbeam in Minnesota contained
scattered open-grown, large bur oaks. The basswood and eastern
hophornbeam were even-aged. Sugar maple was not present in the dominant
layer even though its presence would normally be expected. The forest
structure was explained by Daubenmire [19] as a sugar maple-basswood
stand that had experienced a brief period of burning. Daubenmire
proposed the following relationship of sugar maple-basswood forests to
fire: 1) sugar maple is eliminated by single fires; 2) repeated fires
eliminate elms and red oak and leave basswood and eastern hophornbeam as
sprout thickets; 3) continued fires can eliminate basswood and eastern
hophornbeam thickets, which are replaced by bur oak and grasses; 4)
severe fires will eventually eliminate bur oak, leaving prairie. The
structure of the forest described above was explained as the result of
sugar maple-basswood-eastern hophornbeam invasion of a bur oak savanna
(possibly stage 3). The sugar maple forest developed to maturity
without experiencing fire. This forest then experienced a short period
of burning (perhaps only one fire) and had reached stage 2 when burning
ceased, leaving the basswood and eastern hophornbeam to grow up into an
even-aged canopy. Daubenmire concluded that the climatic limits of
sugar maple-basswood are further west than the actual limits due to fire
[19]. In Iowa oak savanna is replaced by dense sugar maple-basswood
forest, the process occurring over the course of approximately 200 years
without fire [56].

Mature sugar maple-basswood forests are very resistant to burning.
Decomposition of potential fuels is rapid, particularly on base-rich
mull soils. Dense shade reduces the numbers and cover of shrubs and
herbaceous species, and therefore very little fuel exists at ground
level. The tree trunks are not very flammable, and the open crowns do
not carry fire well. Low solar radiation, high relative humidity, and
low wind speeds enhance the moisture retention of ground-level fuels,
thereby inhibiting ignition and/or spread of fire. Ordinarily, only the
leaf litter ever reaches a flammable state, creating conditions
conducive only to patchy, creeping surface fires [32].

The Minnesota Big Woods (sugar maple-basswood cover type) is often
described as an old, stable, climax forest. New evidence suggests that
in fact, these woods are of comparatively recent origin [65]. Climate
factors (increased moisture and lower temperatures) contributed to a
natural decrease in the frequency and intensity of fire. Once
established, sugar maple-basswood forests do not burn easily [32],
creating conditions in which these forests were able to survive climatic
warming and increases in fire frequency. The extent of these woods has
been greatly reduced by human activities, but they have also experienced
lower danger from fire since humans have stopped setting fires and have
been active in suppressing fires [65].

Basswood occurs in aspen forests which are of postfire origin and
fire-maintained. The fire regime in these woods usually consists of
short fire intervals (on the order of 10 years) with low intensity
surface fires. Where these forests are protected from fire, closed
canopies and higher species diversity develop [37].
  • 1. Ahlgren, C. E. 1974. Effects of fires on temperate forests: north central United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 195-223. [13110]
  • 5. Auclair, Allan N.; Cottam, Grant. 1971. Dynamics of black cherry (Prunus serotina Erhr.) in southern Wisconsin oak forests. Ecological Monographs. 41(2): 153-177. [8102]
  • 3. Antrobius, William; Tagestad, Arden; Brumbaugh, Craig; Kresl, Steve. 1992. Integrated pest management & forest health for Sullys Hill National Game Preserve. Report No. 91-11. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Region 1 Timber, Cooperative Forestry and Pest Management. 21 p. [18429]
  • 13. Clark, Bryan F. 1970. Measures necessary for natural regeneration of oaks, yellow-poplar, sweetgum, and black walnut. In: The silviculture of oaks and associated species: A summary of current information: Proceedings, Society of American Foresters annual meeting; 1968 October; Philadelphia, PA. Res. Pap. NE-144. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 1-16. [13261]
  • 14. Clark, James S. 1990. Landscape interactions among nitrogen mineralization, species composition, and long-term fire frequency. Biogeochemistry. 11(1): 1-22. [17185]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 19. Daubenmire, Rexford F. 1936. The "big woods" of Minnesota: its structure, and relation to climate, fire, and soils. Ecological Monographs. 6(2): 233-268. [2697]
  • 25. Fahey, Timothy J.; Reiners, William A. 1981. Fire in the forests of Maine and New Hampshire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 108: 362-373. [9707]
  • 32. Grimm, Eric C. 1984. Fire and other factors controlling the Big Woods vegetation of Minnesota in the mid-nineteenth century. Ecological Monographs. 54(3): 291-311. [22170]
  • 33. Hansen, Henry L.; Kurmis, Vilis. 1972. Natural succession in north-central Minnesota. In: Aspen: Symposium proceedings; [Date of conference unknown]
  • 35. Harrison, A. Tyrone. 1980. The Niobrara Valley Preserve: its biogeographic importance and description of its biotic communities. A working report to the Nature Conservancy. 116 p. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [5736]
  • 36. Heinselman, Miron L. 1973. Fire in the virgin forests of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota. Quaternary Research. 3: 329-382. [282]
  • 37. Heinselman, Miron L. 1981. Fire intensity and frequency as factors in the distribution and structure of northern ecosystems. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]
  • 38. Hendrickson, William H. [n.d.]
  • 56. Patterson, Rich. 1992. Fire in the oaks. American Forests. 98(11): 32-34, 58-59. [19958]
  • 60. Rothenberger, Steven J. 1989. Extent of woody vegetation on the prairie in eastern Nebraska, 1855-1857. In: Bragg, Thomas B.; Stubbendieck, James, eds. Prairie pioneers: ecology, history and culture: Proceedings, 11th North American prairie conference; 1988 August 7-11; Lincoln, NE. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska: 15-18. [14012]
  • 65. Sprugel, Douglas G. 1991. Disturbance, equilibrium, and environmental variability: What is 'natural' vegetation in a changing environment?. Biological Conservation. 58: 1-18. [18674]
  • 71. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]
  • 72. Wanek, Wallace James. 1967. The gallery forest vegetation of the Red River of the North. Fargo, ND: North Dakota State University. 190 p. Dissertation. [5733]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, fire exclusion, importance value, presence, succession

Facultative Seral Species

Basswood is moderately tolerant of shade. It achieves its highest
densities in sugar maple-basswood stands that are late successional to
climax forests. Sugar maple-basswood can eventually replace oak-hickory
on favorable upland sites in the upper Midwest. Succession of
oak-hickory to sugar maple-basswood can be accelerated where harvesting
or other disturbance releases the tolerant understory species [40].
Braun [9] classified basswood as a member of the regional climax forest
in Ohio that also contains American beech (Fagus grandifolia), ash
(Fraxinus spp.), sugar maple, and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron
tulipifera). In eastern Nebraska northern red oak and basswood are
described as climax dominants at the western limits of the forest [2].
In New York basswood is a subclimax species, where it may increase in
importance after heavy logging [6]. In Minnesota sugar maple-basswood
communities are climax on fine mineral soils. In Itasca State Park,
Minnesota, succession from prairie to white pine (Pinus strobus)-bur oak
to sugar maple-basswood is explained by fire exclusion and/or increased
moisture. The authors concluded available evidence supports the climate
model better than the fire exclusion model [10].

The persistence of the moderately shade tolerant basswood in stands
containing highly shade tolerant sugar maple is dependent on their
differing modes of reproduction. Sugar maple produces large numbers of
seedlings which are positively correlated with the occurrence of
basswood in the canopy [27]. Stump sprouting allows basswood to
maintain itself in a stand with the more shade-tolerant sugar maple;
basswood stump sprouts can reach canopy size faster than the more
numerous maple seedlings [16,27,71].

Patchy or large scale disturbance may favor basswood because of its
sprouting ability and presence in the understory. Basswood increased in
relative importance value after a tornado caused severe damage to a
sugar maple-Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) stand in Indiana. The source
of the increase was not specified by the authors; it may have come from
stump sprouts and/or released individuals, coupled with the loss of
other species [51].
  • 2. Aikman, John M. 1926. Distribution and structure of the forests of eastern Nebraska. University Studies. 26(1-2): 1-75. [6575]
  • 6. Barrett, John W.; Ketchledge, Edwin H.; Satterlund, Donald R., eds. 1961. Forestry in the Adirondacks. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University, State University College of Forestry. 139 p. [21405]
  • 9. Braun, E. Lucy. 1936. Forests of the Illinoian till plain of southwestern Ohio. Ecological Monographs. 6(1): 91-149. [8379]
  • 10. Buell, Murray F.; Cantlon, John E. 1951. A study of two forest stands in Minnesota with an interpretation of the prairie-forest margin. Ecology. 32(2): 294-316. [3251]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 27. Frelich, Lee E.; Calcote, Randy R.; Davis, Margaret B.; Pastor, John. 1993. Patch formation and maintenance in an old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest. Ecology. 74(2): 513-527. [21171]
  • 40. Johnson, Paul S. 1976. Modal development of regeneration in clearcut red oak stands in the Driftless Area. In: Fralish, James S.; Weaver, George T.; Schlesinger, Richard C., eds. Central hardwood forest conference: Proceedings of a meeting; 1976 October 17-19; Carbondale, IL. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University: 455-475. [3817]
  • 51. Martin, Christian J.; MacMillan, Paul C. 1982. Seven years of forest succession in Happy Valley, Jefferson County, Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. 92: 197-206. [10369]
  • 71. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: pericarp

The youngest recorded age at which basswood first reproduces is 15 years
[48]. Basswood flowers are insect pollinated, mostly by bees and flies
[16]. Basswood produces good quantities of seed at 1- to 3-year
intervals [16,30]. The relatively heavy fruits are not usually carried
long distances by the wind [42,52]. Seeds can remain dormant for up to
3 years [42]. This deep dormancy is thought to be caused by an
impermeable seedcoat, dormant embryo, and tough pericarp. Acid
scarification and cold stratification enhance seed germination on
mineral soil [16,42,58], but few seeds actually germinate under normal
conditions [16].

Shade enhances establishment and initial survival, but heavy shade
limits subsequent growth and development [16]. Seedlings can establish
in as little as 25 percent of full sunlight [55]. The higher soil
temperatures in forest openings are better suited for good seedling
growth [16], but seedlings are sensitive to soil nutrient deficiencies
which may render them less tolerant to shade than older trees [69].
However, dense reproduction is only obtained under partial canopies [42].

Most basswood reproduction originates as stump sprouts. Almost all
basswood trees 4 inches (10 cm) or less d.b.h. will sprout from the
stump, and more than 50 percent of sawlog-size trees will sprout as well
[16]. Sprouts have been obtained from basswood trees over 100 years
old; 57 percent of trees 20 inches [50.8 cm] or more in diameter
sprouted [46].
  • 52. Matlack, Glenn R. 1987. Diaspore size, shape, and fall behavior in wind-dispersed plant species. American Journal of Botany. 74(8): 1150-1160. [28]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 30. Godman, Richard M.; Mattson, Gilbert A. 1976. Seed crops and regeneration problems of 19 species in northeastern Wisconsin. Res. Pap. NC-123. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 5 p. [3715]
  • 42. Kelty, Matthew J. 1988. Sources of hardwood regeneration and factors that influence these sources. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 17-30. [13931]
  • 46. Lamson, Neil I. 1988. Role of stump sprouts in regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 31-37. [13932]
  • 48. Loehle, Craig. 1988. Tree life history strategies: the role of defenses. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 18(2): 209-222. [4421]
  • 55. Nyland, Ralph D.; Marquis, David A. 1979. Appropriate silvicultural systems for northern hardwoods. In: North America's forests: gateway to opportunity: Proceedings of the 1978 joint convention of the Society of American Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Forestry. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 334-338. [10023]
  • 58. Pitel, J. A.; Wang, B. S. P. 1988. Improving germination of basswood (Tilia americana L.) seeds with gibberellic acid. Seed Science and Technology. 16: 273-280. [11404]
  • 69. Twight, Peter A.; Minckler, Leon S. 1972. Ecological forestry for the Northern hardwood forest. Washington, DC: National Parks and Conservation Association. 12 p. [3508]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Reaction to Competition

Although basswood is less shade  tolerant than its common associate, sugar maple, vigorous  sprouting and rapid sprout growth allow it to persist under the  selection system. Overall, American basswood is most accurately  classed as tolerant of shade. This great sprouting vigor also  helps it compete with the abundant regrowth following  clearcutting. On an excellent site in the central Appalachian  hardwoods, basswood was second only to sugar maple in number of  stems 7 years after clearcutting. On a good site and a fair site,  however, basswood was not among the five most numerous species  during the same period (39).

    For reproduction from seed, the shelterwood system should provide  the partial shade necessary to control competing vegetation, and  to create a microclimate suitable for germination. After basswood  is established, the overstory should be removed.

    Closely spaced, forest-grown trees develop straight, columnar  trunks and narrow crowns, but open-grown trees have short stems  and many large branches.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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T. R. Crow

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Rooting Habit

The initial taproot observed in basswood  seedlings gives way in saplings to a system of lateral roots (5).  This early root development is gradually obscured by the  intensive development of oblique roots in the central mass, and  surface lateral roots extend out from this mass (16).  Adventitious roots have developed on the lower stem of basswood  engulfed by dune sand (4).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Basswood usually flowers in June, but flowering dates range from late
May to early July [16]. Flowering occurs from 1 to 4 weeks after spring
leaf-out [1,16]. In Minnesota, bud swell occurs in from late April to
early May, and leafing out occurs from early to mid-May. Seeds are
dispersed in October, and leaf fall occurs from September to October [1].
  • 1. Ahlgren, C. E. 1974. Effects of fires on temperate forests: north central United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 195-223. [13110]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

Basswood sprouts prolifically,  and this vegetative regeneration can be managed for sawtimber.  Sprouts commonly originate on the stump at the ground line, and  vigorous sprouts occur over a wide range of diameter classes  (31). Almost all trees 10 cm (4 in) in diameter and smaller will  produce sprouts and more than half of sawlog-size trees can be  expected to produce stump sprouts (23). However, early thinning   of stump sprouts (preferably before they reach 5 cm (2 in) d.b.h.  or about age 10) is needed to ensure both good quality and rapid  growth. Clumps should be thinned to not more than two stems; such  thinnings will reduce the incidence of stem degrade due to decay,  seams, and sweep (23,38).

    Because an extensive root system already exists, a basswood sprout  has a higher probability of replacing a parent stem than does a  sugar maple seedling. Thus, the ability to produce abundant stump  sprouts allows basswood to maintain itself in a stand with the  more shade-tolerant maple despite the much larger numbers of  sugar maple in the subcanopy (13).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seedling Development

Basswood seeds show a pronounced  dormancy and generally germinate poorly regardless of seedbed  conditions. The primary cause for the lack of quick germination  is an impermeable testa. Using organic acids to digest the  pericarps of the fruits and to render the testas permeable  improves germination (17). Correctly treated seeds commonly  average from 20 to 30 percent germination following  stratification at 2° to 5° C (36° to 41° F)  for 110 to 130 days. Germination is epigeal. Early harvesting  followed by immediate sowing has also been suggested for  overcoming dormancy of basswood seeds. Collections should be made  when seed coats turn brown but before they become dry and hard,  or more specifically, when the moisture content is 20 to 40  percent of the green weight (7,29).

    Shading aids the establishment and initial survival of basswood  seedlings but heavy shade limits subsequent growth and  development, and vigorous growth is unlikely under the forest  canopy. Likewise, higher soil temperatures found in forest  openings are suitable for greatest growth of basswood seedlings  (3).

    Basswood seedlings first develop a long taproot, which is soon  supplemented by lateral roots. First-year seedlings had a root  penetration of 20.3 cm (8 in) with a lateral spread of 7.6 cm (3  in), and second-year seedlings had a root penetration of 21.3 cm  (8.4 in) and a lateral spread of 18.3 cm (7.2 in) (30). Stem  height was 5.6 cm (2.2 in) the first year and 9.4 cm (3.7 in) the  second year.

    Cold storage of autumn-lifted basswood seedlings maintains root  growth capacity and overall seedling vigor for spring planting.  Autumn-lifted stock should be stored at a temperature of 5°  C (41° F) and a relative humidity of 70-85 percent (46).

    Basswood has been successfully planted in Ontario on cutover land  and abandoned farmland. On cutover land, survival was best when a  light overhead canopy (8.0 m/ha or 35 ft/acre of residual basal  area) controlled competing vegetation (36). Release of the  seedlings from the residual overstory and undergrowth was  recommended after three growing seasons. Fall plantings failed to  survive. Early failures of hardwoods planted on old-field sites  in Ontario have been attributed to the absence of mycorrhizal  fungi (30), insufficient site preparation, and insufficient  postplanting weed control (42,44). Fertilization at the time of  planting had little effect on seedling survival or growth (43).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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T. R. Crow

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Seed Production and Dissemination

Fruits ripen in  September and October and are soon dispersed by such mechanisms  as wind, gravity, and animals. Although the flower bracts are  reported to aid in wind dispersal, fruits rarely are carried more  than one or two tree lengths from the parent (24). In addition to  their limited role in seed dispersal, bracts may act as "flags"  to attract pollinators (especially nocturnal ones) to the  inflorescences (2). Animals probably increase the seed dispersal  significantly.

    The seed-bearing age for basswood generally ranges from 15 to 100  years, but seed production at age 8 years (10 years from seed)  has been noted (45). The number of ripened fruits averages 9,700  to 13,200/kg (4,400 to 6,000/lb); green fruit averages 5,070 to  5,950 seeds per kilogram (2,300 to 2,700/lb) of fruit (17,33,35).  Based on a number of collections, seed weights varied from 12 to  38 mg (0.18 to 0.59 gr) and averaged 31 mg (0.48 gr) (4). In a  study for 26 years of 19 species in northern Wisconsin, basswood  was one of the most consistent fall-maturing seed producers (18).  It produced good seed crops 62 percent of the time from 1949 to  1974. When crown-released, basswood that were about 50 years old  did not increase their fruit production during the 5-year period  following release. Moreover, the quality of fruit remained poor   throughout this period. In the third year after release, for  example, only 5 percent of the fruit collected from the ground  contained sound seed (37).

    The production of fruit without seed (parthenocarpy) and seed  infestation by a lepidopterous larva are two common defects that  affect seed viability. A pin hole in the pericarp indicates the  presence of the larvae. The percentage of fruits with the pin  hole was 3 percent in a September collection and 7 percent for an  October collection in southeastern Ontario (35); 30 percent of  fruits were insect infested in 45 collections from various parts  of the natural range of basswood (4). In the same collections,  the percentage of fruits with seed ranged from 0 to nearly 100,  but the lack of sound seed on the forest floor seems to be the  rule. Only 2 percent were sound out of more than 7,400  identifiable basswood seeds found in the litter in a northern  Wisconsin stand. Seeds covered by leaves had rotted and most of  the seeds lying on or in the upper litter layers had been  destroyed by rodents (18).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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T. R. Crow

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Flowering and Fruiting

The fragrant, yellow-white,  perfect flowers are borne on loose cymes on long stalks attached  to leafy bracts. Flowering generally occurs in June but can begin  in late May or early July, depending on latitude and annual  variations in temperature. Flowering follows initial leaf-out and  lasts approximately 2 weeks. During this period, all stages of  floral development are present on a single tree or even in a   single inflorescence (4 to 40 flowers per inflorescence). The  flowers attract a number of insect pollinators. In a study of the  pollination biology, 66 species of insects from 29 families were  identified as pollinators of Tilia flowers. Bees and  flies were the most common diurnal pollinators; moths were the  primary nocturnal visitors (2).

    The fruit, a nutlike drupe 5 to 10 mm (0.2 to 0.4 in) in diameter,  usually contains one seed but in collections from both open- and  forest-grown trees, 12 percent of the fruit contained two seeds  and less than 1 percent contained three seeds. The seeds have a  crustaceous seed coat (testa), a fleshy yellowish endosperm, and  a well-developed embryo. A variety of forms of fruit and seed  have been noted, including egg-shaped, round, onion-shaped,  conical, and pentagonal (34). Individual trees tend to  consistently produce fruit of a particular form and size.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

This species reaches a height of 23 to  40 m (75 to 130 ft) with a d.b.h. of 91 to 122 cm (36 to 48 in).  Under favorable conditions, trees sometimes attain a height of 43  m (140 ft) and a d.b.h. of 137 cm (54 in). Estimates of maximum  longevity generally exceed 200 years.

    Basswood grows faster than most other northern hardwood species.  On the same site, basswood often exceeds sugar maple and yellow  birch (Betula alleghaniensis) in site index by 1.5 rn (5  ft) and beech by 3 rn (10 ft) (11).

    Diameter growth for basswood averaged 3 mm. (0.11 in) per year in  three unmanaged stands in northeastern Wisconsin (site index at  base age 50 years for basswood of 21.3 m or 70 ft). The same site  under managed conditions produced substantially higher growth  rates. Annual diameter growth average for a crop tree release was  4.6 mm (0.18 in); for a 20.7 m² and 17.2 m² /ha (90 ft²  and 75 ft² /acre) (residual sawtimber) selection cut, it was  3.8 and 4.8 mm (0.15, 0.19 in); and for a group selection cut, it  was 3 mm (0.12 in). Relatively narrow bark ridges and V-shaped  fissures, with new light-colored inner bark visible in the  fissures, represent a high-vigor basswood. In contrast, low-vigor  trees have scaly bark with wide bark ridges and shallow, short  fissures, frequently producing a rather smooth surface (12).

    Two phases can be noted in the renewal of cambial activity for  basswood. The first phase is the reactivity of cambium that  occurs independently of the initial meristematic activity within  the overwintering buds. The second phase, accelerating cambial  activity after bud-break, is presumably under the influence of  primary growth (14). Winter stem contraction for basswood often  exceeds stem expansion from the previous growing season. The  amount of winter shrinkage in basswood stems was greater than  that of yellow birch, sugar maple, or hemlock (Tsuga  canadensis) (49).

    The period of shoot elongation for basswood in northern areas is  shorter than that for other hardwoods-only red oak and sugar  maple had shorter periods of terminal shoot elongation among  seven species studied in northern Wisconsin. Based on an average  of three growing seasons, shoot elongation for basswood began in  May and was completed by the first of June (10). Longer periods  of shoot elongation have been noted for open-grown basswood in  Illinois and basswood plantations in Ontario (mid-May to  mid-August). Chlorophyll is found in xylem rays and primary xylem  of basswood twigs (47). Although the photosynthetic  contribution is not large, it may have seasonal significance when  leaves are absent.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

The number of native taxa in the genus Tilia has been  debated for some time. As many as 15 native species and 13  varieties are named in early taxonomic work. Only three species  of Tilia are now recognized in the United States, T.  americana L., T. caroliniana Mill., and  T. heterophylla Vent. (24). Recent studies,  however, suggest that the genus Tilia in eastern North  America should be considered a single, but highly variable,  species. In sampling Tilia from Quebec, Canada, to Lake  County, FL, no apparent morphological discontinuities between  populations were found to justify delimitation at the species  level (20).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Tilia americana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Tilia americana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: natural, shrubs, tussock

Basswood stump sprouts can be managed for sawtimber [16]. The number of
stump sprouts declines with the age and size of the cut trees [7].
Since sprouts originating at or below the ground line are more resistant
to butt rot, stumps should be cut very close to the ground [46] or
burned [57]. Early thinning of sprouts is needed to ensure good quality
and rapid growth [16]. In West Virginia an average of 14.4 7-year-old
stump sprouts per clump was removed to allow good growth of the
remaining one or two stems [45]. Larger stems (greater than 51.7 inches
[1.31 m] d.b.h. will also respond to release [63].

Direct seeding may also have potential for good basswood regeneration
[20]; natural seed reproduction can be encouraged by shelterwood cutting
systems [16]. Shelterwood systems also enhance basswood production
where advance regeneration is large enough to compete successfully with
other hardwoods and shrubs [7]. Advance growth should be 2 feet (0.6 m)
or more in height before the overstory is harvested [42]. Sites that
are harvested to 60 percent residual stems may need to be cut again to
allow the best growth of northern hardwoods (including basswood) [55].
Even-aged management systems can also be used successfully for basswood,
particularly where sprouts have been properly thinned [23].

Basswood and other tolerant species are often established in the
understory of oak (Quercus spp.)-hickory (Carya spp.) stands, and tend
to take over a site when the overstory is harvested, regardless of the
silvicultural system used [61]. Basswood invasion of mixed oak stands
is a problem for oak regeneration in Wisconsin [13].

High densities of white-tailed deer can result in basswood seedling
height growth reduction or even complete loss of basswood from the stand
due to overbrowsing [67]. On old-field sites basswood is often subject
to damage from mice and voles girdling the stems. Rabbits also feed
heavily on seedlings and small saplings. Seed predators include mice,
squirrels, and chipmunks [16].

Insect pests of basswood include the linden borer (which damages weak,
very young, or "overmature" trees) and the following defoliators: linden
looper, basswood leafminer, spring cankerworm, fall cankerworm,
white-masked tussock moth, gypsy moth, and forest tent caterpillar.
None of these pests is considered a serious threat [16]. Basswood is
easily decayed by fungi, and butt rot is an important factor in loss of
merchantable timber [16].

Basswood is susceptible to many herbicides, but is resistant to 2,4-D
and 2,4,5-T [8].
  • 8. Bovey, Rodney W. 1977. Response of selected woody plants in the United States to herbicides. Agric. Handb. 493. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 101 p. [8899]
  • 7. Beck, Donald E. 1988. Regenerating cove hardwood stands. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 156-166. [13943]
  • 13. Clark, Bryan F. 1970. Measures necessary for natural regeneration of oaks, yellow-poplar, sweetgum, and black walnut. In: The silviculture of oaks and associated species: A summary of current information: Proceedings, Society of American Foresters annual meeting; 1968 October; Philadelphia, PA. Res. Pap. NE-144. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 1-16. [13261]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 20. Davidson, Walter H. 1988. Potential for planting hardwoods in the Appalachians. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 255-268. [13951]
  • 23. Erdmann, Gayne G. 1987. Methods of commercial thinning in even-aged northern hardwood stands. In: Nyland, Ralph D., editor. Managing northern hardwoods: Proceedings of a silvicultural symposium; 1986 June 23-25; Syracuse, NY. Faculty of Forestry Miscellaneous Publication No. 13 (ESF 87-002); Society of American Foresters Publication No. 87-03. Syracuse, NY: State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry: 191-210. [10657]
  • 42. Kelty, Matthew J. 1988. Sources of hardwood regeneration and factors that influence these sources. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 17-30. [13931]
  • 45. Lamson, Neil I. 1983. Precommercial thinning increases diameter growth of Appalachian hardwood stump sprouts. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. 7(2): 93-97. [12563]
  • 46. Lamson, Neil I. 1988. Role of stump sprouts in regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 31-37. [13932]
  • 55. Nyland, Ralph D.; Marquis, David A. 1979. Appropriate silvicultural systems for northern hardwoods. In: North America's forests: gateway to opportunity: Proceedings of the 1978 joint convention of the Society of American Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Forestry. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 334-338. [10023]
  • 57. Perala, Donald A. 1974. Growth and survival of northern hardwood sprouts after burning. Res. Note NC-176. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 4 p. [7349]
  • 61. Sander, Ivan L.; Merritt, Clair; Tryon, E. H. 1981. Oak-hickory. In: Choices in silviculture for American forests. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 23-29. [6525]
  • 63. Smith, H. Clay; Miller, Gary W. 1991. Releasing 75- to 80-year-old Appalachian hardwood sawtimber trees: 5-year d.b.h. response. In: McCormick, Larry H.; Gottschalk, Kurt W., eds. Proceedings, 8th central hardwood forest conference; 1991 March 4-6; University Park, PA. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-148. Radnor, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 402-413. [15327]
  • 67. Tilghman, Nancy G. 1987. Deer populations and their impact on regenerating northern hardwoods. In: Nyland, Ralph D., editor. Managing northern hardwoods: Proceedings of a silvicultural symposium; 1986 June 23-25; Syracuse, NY. Faculty of Forestry Miscellaneous Publication No. 13 (ESF 87-002); Society of American Foresters Publication No. 87-03. Syracuse, NY: State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry: 286-297. [10660]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

These plant materials are readily available from commercial sources. Cultivars of Tilia americana have been selected for mature shape, fall leaf color, and rust resistance. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Basswood stump sprouts can be managed for saw timber. The number of sprouts declines with the age and size of the cut trees. Since sprouts originating at or below the ground line are more resistant to butt rot, stumps should be cut very close to the ground or burned. Early thinning of sprouts is needed to ensure good quality and rapid growth.

Over-browsing by high densities of white-tailed deer can result in basswood seedling height growth reduction or even complete loss of basswood from the stand. Mice and voles on oldfield sites may often girdle the stems, and rabbits also feed heavily on seedlings and small saplings. Seed predators include mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. Basswood is easily decayed by fungi, and butt rot is an important factor in loss of merchantable timber.

Basswood is most common in forests with long fire-free intervals, because the thin bark and shallow roots are easily damaged by fire and basal fire wounds increase susceptibility to butt rot. Prescribed fire is not recommended for established stands of hardwoods in which basswood occurs, as too-frequent fire intervals eliminate basswood or restrict it to the most mesic sites. In some places, however, these trees are encroaching onto former grasslands since fires have been suppressed.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun to light shade, mesic conditions, and a rich loamy soil with abundant nitrogen and calcium. Young seedlings and saplings can tolerate moderate shade. A mature tree casts considerable shade that can kill grass and other vegetation around the base of its trunk.
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Other uses and values

More info for the term: tree

Basswood is planted as a shade tree or ornamental [16]. The fibrous
inner bark ("bast") has been used as a source of fiber for rope, mats,
fish nets, and woven baskets [15,16].
  • 15. Collingwood, G. H. 1937. Knowing your trees. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 213 p. [6316]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: hardwood

Basswood is of limited use in mixed hardwood plantings on disturbed
sites in Ohio [75].
  • 75. Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minesoils in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 190 p. [15575]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Basswood is preferred browse for white-tailed deer [67]. Basswood
flowers are visited by honeybees for nectar [16]. The easily decayed
wood produces a disproportionate number of cavities which are used by
cavity-nesting animals including wood ducks [21], pileated woodpeckers
[34], other birds, and small mammals [11]. Carey and Gill [11] rate
basswood as fair (their lowest rating) for all wildlife.
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 21. Dugger, Katie M.; Fredrickson, Leigh H. 1992. Life history and habitat needs of the wood duck. Fish and Wildlife Leaflet 13.1.6. Waterfowl Management Handbook. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 8 p. [20789]
  • 34. Hardin, Kimberly I.; Evans, Keith E. 1977. Cavity nesting bird habitat in the oak-hickory forests--a review. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-30. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 23 p. [13859]
  • 67. Tilghman, Nancy G. 1987. Deer populations and their impact on regenerating northern hardwoods. In: Nyland, Ralph D., editor. Managing northern hardwoods: Proceedings of a silvicultural symposium; 1986 June 23-25; Syracuse, NY. Faculty of Forestry Miscellaneous Publication No. 13 (ESF 87-002); Society of American Foresters Publication No. 87-03. Syracuse, NY: State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry: 286-297. [10660]
  • 11. Carey, Andrew B. 1983. Cavities in trees in hardwood forests. In: Davis, Jerry W.; Goodwin, Gregory A.; Ockenfeis, Richard A., technical coordinators. Snag Habitat management: proceedings of the symposium; 1983 June 7-9; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-99. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 167-184. [17833]

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Wood Products Value

Basswood wood is soft and light; it is valued for hand carving and has
many other uses including cooperage, boxes, veneer, excelsior, and pulp
[15,16]. Basswood is economically important for timber, especially in
the Great Lakes States [16].

Carey and Gill [11] rated basswood as fair (their lowest rating) for
firewood.
  • 15. Collingwood, G. H. 1937. Knowing your trees. Washington, DC: The American Forestry Association. 213 p. [6316]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 11. Carey, Andrew B. 1983. Cavities in trees in hardwood forests. In: Davis, Jerry W.; Goodwin, Gregory A.; Ockenfeis, Richard A., technical coordinators. Snag Habitat management: proceedings of the symposium; 1983 June 7-9; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-99. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 167-184. [17833]

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Special Uses

Basswood has relatively soft wood that works exceptionally well  and is valued for hand carving. The inner bark, or bast, can be  used as a source of fiber for making rope or for weaving such  items as baskets and mats. Basswood flowers produce an abundance  of nectar from which choice honey is made. In fact, in some parts  of its range basswood is known as the bee-tree. Throughout the  Eastern United States, basswood is frequently planted along city  streets.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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T. R. Crow

Source: Silvics of North America

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Uses

Ethnobotanic: Native Americans and settlers used the fibrous inner bark ("bast") as a source of fiber for rope, mats, fish nets, and baskets. Basswood is still valued for its soft, light, easily worked wood, especially for turned items and hand carving. It once was the material of choice for prosthetic limbs, but these are now made from synthetics. Other uses have included boxes, toys, woodenware, drawing boards, veneer, venetian blinds, excelsior, and pulp.

Native Americans used fresh basswood sap, which contains moderate amounts of sugar, as a watery drink or boiled it into syrup. They also ate young basswood leaves and used the cambium for soups and breads. Various medicinal uses were made of leaf and bark extracts, and Iroquois used freshly cut bark as an emergency bandage for wounds.

Wildlife: Basswood is good browse and buds are important for birds and deer in winter. Fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals. The wood decays easily and produces many cavities (especially in trees past 120 years of age), which are used by cavity-nesting animals (wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers, other birds, and small mammals). Basswood is a prolific nectar producer and pollination by honeybees results in a choice grade of honey.

Restoration: Basswood is planted as a shade tree or ornamental. For sites of smaller size or with compacted soils, other Tilia species may be more suitable. Basswood is said to be a soil-enriching species, bringing calcium and magnesium up from deep in the soil profile and depositing it in leaf litter on the surface.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Tilia americana

Tilia americana is a species of Tilia native to eastern North America, from southeast Manitoba east to New Brunswick, southwest to northeast Texas, and southeast to South Carolina, and west along the Niobrara River to Cherry County, Nebraska.[1][2] Common names include American Linden and Basswood (also applied to other species of Tilia in the timber trade).

Description[edit]

Tilia americana is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree reaching a height of 18 to 37 m (60 to 120 ft) exceptionally 39 m (129 ft) with a trunk diameter of 1-1.5 m (3–4 ft) at maturity. The crown is domed, the branches spreading, often pendulous. The bark is gray to light brown, with narrow, well defined fissures. The roots are large, deep, and spreading. The twigs are smooth, reddish-green, becoming light gray in their second year, finally dark brown or brownish gray, marked with dark wart-like excrescences. The winter buds are stout, ovate-acute, smooth, deep red, with two bud scales visible. The leaves are simple, alternately arranged, ovate to cordate, asymmetrical, unequal at the base (the side nearest the branch the largest), 10–15 cm (can grow up to 25 cm) long and broad, with a long, slender petiole, a coarsely serrated margin and an acuminate apex. They open from the bud conduplicate, pale green, downy; when full grown are dark green, smooth, shining above, paler beneath, with tufts of rusty brown hairs in the axils of the primary veins; the small stipules fall soon after leaf opening. The fall color is yellow-green to yellow. Both the twigs and leaves contain mucilaginous sap. The flowers are small, fragrant, yellowish-white, 10–14 mm diameter, arranged in drooping, cymose clusters of 6–20 with a whitish-green leaf-like bract attached for half its length at the base of the cyme; they are perfect, regular, with five sepals and petals, numerous stamens, and a five-celled superior ovary. Flowering is in early to mid summer; pollination is by bees. The fruit is a small, globose, downy, hard and dry cream-colored nutlet with a diameter of 8–10 mm.[1][3][4]

Taxonomy[edit]

The circumscription of the species is disputed; some authors[1][5] treat it in a narrow sense, with Tilia caroliniana, Tilia heterophylla, and Tilia mexicana regarded as separate species, while others[2][6][7] treat these as varieties or synonyms of T. americana. The distribution and description above treat the species in its narrow sense; taken in the broad sense, including plants with the leaves white below with dense tomentum (velvety hairs), the distribution extends southwards to Florida, and in Mexico west to Sinaloa and south to Oaxaca.

Ecology[edit]

This species is dominant in the Acer saccharum - Tilia americana association, most common in western Wisconsin and central Minnesota, but occurs as far east as New England and southern Quebec where the soils are mesic with relatively high pH. It also has minor occurrence in many other forest cover types.

Its flowers provide abundant nectar for insects. The seeds are eaten by chipmunks, mice, and squirrels. Rabbits and voles eat the bark, sometimes girdling young trees. The leaves serve as food for caterpillars of various Lepidoptera (see Lepidoptera which feed on Tilia). The ribbed cocoon maker species Bucculatrix improvisa has not been found on other plants.

This species is particularly susceptible to adult Japanese beetles (an invasive species in North America) that feed on its leaves.[8]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Tilia americana can be propagated by cuttings and grafting as well as by seed. The plants grow rapidly in a rich soil, but are subject to the attacks of many insect enemies.

Tilia Americana is known for being one of the most difficult native North American trees to propagate from seed, as they not only have a low viability rate (approximately 30% of all seeds are viable), but quickly develop an extremely hard seed coating that may delay germination for up to two years. If planting them, it is recommended to gather the seeds in early autumn and sow them before they dry out and form a coating. This will then allow germination to occur immediately. Overall, seeds are not a major part of the tree's reproductive strategy and it instead mostly spreads by suckering. All juvenile basswoods sucker extremely readily, and even old trees will often sprout from the stump if cut.

The species is recommended as an ornamental tree when the mass of foliage or a deep shade is desired; no native tree surpasses it in this respect. It is often planted on the windward side of an orchard as a protection to young and delicate trees.[4] It is cultivated at least as far north as Juneau, Alaska.[9]

The foliage and flowers are both edible, though many prefer only to eat the tender young leaves. It is a beneficial species for attracting pollinators as well. Bees produce excellent honey with a mildly spicy flavor from its blossoms.

Cultivars include 'Nova', 'Duros' (with an upright crown), the pyramidal 'Frontyard' and the conic-crowned 'Redmond'.

Wood[edit]

basswood carving

The wood is pale brown, sometimes nearly white or faintly tinged with red; light, soft with fine close grain; clear of knots but does not split easily. It is low in strength and has a poor steam-bending classification. It can take stains and polish without difficulty and it planes, glues, screws and nails well.[10] It is sold generally under the name basswood, but is sometimes confounded with tulip-wood and then called white-wood, and is largely used in the manufacture of wooden-ware, wagon boxes and furniture. It has a density of 0.4525. The wood is considered odorless. This makes it valuable in the manufacture of wooden-ware, cheap furniture, bodies of carriages; it is also especially adapted for wood-carving. The inner bark is very tough and fibrous, used in the past for making ropes.[4]

It is a common wood for use in the production of solid body electric guitars, where it is considered an analogue for aspen and poplar, because it is light, strong and resonant, though it is usually used for guitars that will be painted an opaque color, because its lack of notable grain makes it an unattractive candidate for transparent finish. Linden wood rots easily and old trees have many cavities that serve as nesting places for birds.

Medicinal Uses[edit]

Although Tilia cordata is believed to be stronger, T. americana is also used medicinally. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Linden tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the linden flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants), volatile oils, and mucilaginous constituents (which soothe and reduce inflammation). The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent.[11]

Linden flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.[11][12]

See also[edit]

Bois Blanc Island (Michigan)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Forest Service Silvis Manual: Tilia americana
  2. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Tilia americana
  3. ^ USDA NRCS Tree Guide: Tilia americana (pdf file)
  4. ^ a b c Keeler, H. L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons. pp. 24–31. 
  5. ^ Jones, G. N. (1968). Taxonomy of the American species of linden (Tilia). Illinois Biological Monographs 39. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
  6. ^ Hardin, J. W. (1990). Variation patterns and recognition of varieties of Tilia americana s.l. Syst. Bot. 15: 33-48. Abstract.
  7. ^ Bioimages: Tillia americana ssp. heterophylla
  8. ^ USDA: Managing the Japanese Beetle:A Homeowner’s Handbook[1]
  9. ^ Juneau: Downtown Juneau Tree Guide
  10. ^ Porter, Terry (2006). Wood Identification & Use - Revised & Expanded. p. 254.
  11. ^ a b Bradley P, ed. British Herbal Compendium. Vol. I. Dorset (Great Britain): British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992: 142-144
  12. ^ Aguirre-Hernandez, E., Martinez, A. L., Gonzalez-Trujano, M. E., Moreno, J., Vibrans, H., & Soto-Hernandez, M. (2007). Pharmacological evaluation of the anxiolytic and sedative effects of Tilia americana L. var. mexicana in mice. J. Ethnopharmacol. 109 (1): 140-145.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Synonyms

T. americana var. neglecta (Spach.) Fosberg [47]
T. relicta Laughlin [47]
  • 47. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]

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Common Names

basswood
American basswood
linden

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The currently accepted scientific name for basswood is Tilia americana
L. [47,29]. Some authorities agree that T. americana, T. heterophylla,
and T. caroliniana are more correctly treated as one highly variable
species [16,22,29].
  • 47. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]
  • 16. Crow, T. R. 1990. Tilia americana L. American basswood. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 784-791. [21826]
  • 22. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 29. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]

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