Basswood, which is known scientifically as Tilia, is a genus that is composed of approximately 30 different species. Other names for basswood include linden and lime. Basswood originates in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, in Europe and Asia. It is also found in the eastern states of North America, although it is not native to the continent. Basswood is commonly grown as a shade tree, especially in Europe.
Food and Drink
Basswood has various culinary uses. The leaves and flowers of the tree are sometimes used as a substitute for herbal tea. The sap of basswood has also been used to produce a variety of sugar. The French chemist Missa discovered that the tree's fruit, when blended with some flowers, produced a substance that had a taste similar to chocolate.
Basswood is a popular shade tree, and is a common ornamental option for those who seek trees with deep shade or thick leaves. Apart from ornamental uses, basswood also offers medicinal benefits. A tonic can be made from both the leaves and flowers of the tree, which can soothe uncomfortable symptoms of the common cold. The wood (which is often considered to be weak) is also frequently used to produce cheap furniture, beekeeping supplies, types of wooden ware and containers.
The foliage of basswood is flat, broad and simple, without lobes. The fine leaves are double-teethed, and the side veins (close to the base) are significantly longer than their other veins. The broad bases are asymmetrical. The leaves are 2 to 6 inches in length, and are a light green color.
Basswood's fruit resembles peas, and does not consist of any capsules or hulks. The fruit, which contains pits, hangs down and is connected directly to a yellowish-green bract that looks like a ribbon. The entire fruit is under 1 inch in length. The fruit is loosely packed together and is greenish-gray.
Basswood is a large deciduous tree. It grows to heights of 70 to 100 feet tall. The diameter of basswood trees is usually 2 to 3 feet. The trees thrive when grown in soil that is well-drained, moist and rich.
The flowers of the basswood are born within cymes that are axillary. The peduncles are partially attached into a yellowish-green tract that is linear. The whitish-yellowish petals appear in clusters of five, and are lanceolate and oblong. The calyx is divided into five separate parts. There are many stamens, all of which are hypogynous. When the flowers are fresh, they have a pleasant and subtle fragrance.