Landowner Fact Sheets

American basswood Tilia americana play

American basswood is a deciduous tree of many uses. The relatively soft wood is valued for hand carving. The flower nectar makes choice honey, and the seeds, buds, and twigs are eaten by a variety of wildlife. American basswood is also tolerant of a range of soils and moisture regimes, and is planted widely as a shade tree.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

American basswood is shade tolerant and regenerated by a number of methods, provided site quality is good. Clearcuts, shelterwoods, group and single tree selections work. Vigorous stump sprouting compliments seeding.

Typically occurs on moist sites, but can grow on a wide variety of soils including on ridgetops.


A medium sized tree to 80 feet. Older trees very often sprout from the base when cut. Stumps sprout prolifically, often resulting in clumps of several trees.

Timber Value
American basswood is used for wood carving, cooperage, excelsior, boxes, veneer, and pulpwood. The bark is used for rope, baskets, mats, and nets.

Wildlife Value
Bees utilize the abundant nectar. Seeds are eaten by mice, voles, chipmunks, and squirrels. Deer browse twigs and foliage.
Attracts mice, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, deer, wood ducks, pileated woodpeckers

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Tilia is a useful tree - the inner bark may be woven into rope, the wood is soft and easy to carve, the flowers make an excellent honey, the buds are edible and the big, soft, papery leaves are the woodsman's friend. The name basswood refers to "bass cloth" made from the fibrous bark of the tree.

Latin Meaning
Tilia: Latin name of Linden / americana: of America

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.