Tilia americana
Common name: 
American Linden
American Basswood
TIL-i-a a-mer-i-KA-na
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous tree, 60-80 ft (18-24 m), pyramidal when young, when mature lower branches droop down but tips ascend; rounded form.  Bark gray-brown, many long, narrow flat topped ridges.  Leaves alternate, simple, 12-15 cm long, thick, tip abruptly acuminate, base cordate or truncate, margin coarsely serrate with long pointed teeth, glossy to dull dark green above, lighter below, 3-5 veins arising at the base, tufts of hair in axils of lateral veins; petiole 2.5-7.5 cm long.  Flowers pale yellow, 11-13 mm across, appear after leaves fully expanded, 5-10(15) per cluster, floral bract is 7-10 cm long.  Globose fruit, 8-12 mm across, without ridges, covered with gray-brown pubescence.
  • Sun to part shade.  Best in deep, moist, fertile soil, but tolerates drier, heavier soils
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3b      Native range covers much of eastern North America; from New Brunswick and Maine west to southern Quebec, Ontario, Michigan, Minnesota, and Manitoba; south to eastern North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma; east to northern Arkansas, Tennessee, western North Carolina, and New Jersey.
  • Tilia heterophylla [White Basswood] has leaves with densely whitish pubescence on the underside but otherwise very similar to Tilia americana and now it is included in T. americana.
  • Several cultivars, including:
    • American Sentry® (‘McKSentry’) – straight, well-formed, narrow pyramidal canopy, narrower that the species, 60 ft tall and 25 ft wide (18 × 13 m)
    • 'Boulevard' - tall, narrow, and very straight-growing, ascending branches, very hardy (USDA Zone 3), well suited to street plantings
    • 'Continental Appeal'  -  tree, to 50 ft tall (~15 m), dense crown, ascending branches.  Leaves large, 9-15 cm long and 7-10 cm wide, dark green above, whitish pubescence below. Once considered a Tilia heterophylla.
    • Legend® (DTR 123’) – broadly pyramidal shape, fast growing, 40 ft tall and a spread of 30 ft (12 × 9 m), clean glossy green leaves, resists rust problems of the species
    • 'Redmond’ – probably of hybrid origin, some consider it a cross of T. americana × T. ×euchlora, shorter, denser and more compact than the species, 40 ft tall and 20 ft wide (12 × 6 m), long proven in years of urban use, reliable as a street tree, hardy to USDA Zone 3
  • Corvallis: southwest corner 4th St. and Tyler Ave.
  • Oregon State University campus: NE Kearney Hall, along Monroe Ave.  
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • young leaf with stipules

    young leaf with stipules

  • mature leaf

    mature leaf

  • leaf surface and margin

    leaf surface and margin

  • leaf size variation

    leaf size variation

  • leaves, comparison

    leaves, comparison

  • leaf and immature flower clusters

    leaf and immature flower clusters

  • flower clusters and leaves

    flower clusters and leaves

  • flowers


  • leafy shoot and fruit

    leafy shoot and fruit

  • leaf and bract

    leaf and bract

  • fruit and leaf

    fruit and leaf

  • plant habit and leaves, fall

    plant habit and leaves, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • winter twig, buds

    winter twig, buds