Basswood vs. Linden Wood

By Kyle Swan

The forests are filled with many trees with a wide variety of identifying features and uses. The American basswood (Tilia Americana) is among them. It is also known as American linden or whitewood.

Identification

The American basswood or linden has large, heart-shaped leaves, which grow from 5 to 10 inches long and are dark green. The tree reaches 50 to 70 feet tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 3 feet.

Location

Basswood grows well in temperate climates with deep soil and good moisture content. Often it is found growing in small stands, but it is also commonly seen in urban areas, where it is planted near parks or along streets.

Significance

When flowering, bees flock to basswood or linden in such abundant numbers that it is sometimes referred to as the "bee tree." The bees produce a full-flavored, pale honey that is valued by beekeepers. The tree is also a source of food for wildlife that feeds on its seeds, seedlings and saplings.

Industry

Basswood has many industrial uses. It can be used as a substitute for white pine and is used to make boxes, wood veneer and pulp. The bark, called bast, is fibrous and can be used as weaving cordage.

Fun Facts

Basswood is a choice timber for wood carving because it is soft and easily worked. It is commonly used as a wood for guitars.

About the Author

Kyle Swan has been writing since 2007. He has experience in the hospitality industry and in residential construction. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.