BASSWOOD
File Size: 37 KB
 
Tilia americana  L.
Riley County, Kansas
Height: To 130 feet; around 60 feet in Kansas
Family: Tiliaceae - Linden Family
Flowering Period:   June, July
Also Called: American linden.
Trunks: Straight; crown broad, spreading, somewhat pyramidal; bark dark gray, thick, deeply furrowed into broad, scaly ridges.
Twigs: Smooth, reddish, zigzag; terminal bud absent; lateral buds egg-shaped, 1/4 inch long, pointed, smooth, red; leaf scars 2-ranked, half-elliptical, somewhat elevated; bundle scars 3 or compound and scattered.
Leaves: Alternate, deciduous, simple, broadly egg-shaped or heart-shaped to nearly circular, 2.8 to 6 inches long, 3.2 to 4 inches wide, thick, firm, glabrous, dark green above, paler below; margins sharply toothed; tip pointed to abruptly tapering-pointed; base uneven, often rounded on 1 side and straight on other; stalk slender, 1.6 to 2.8 inches long.
Flowers: June, after leaves, fragrant, to 3/5 inch wide, in cymes; cymes solitary, loose, drooping, stalk attached for 1/2 length to oblong-linear, yellowish-green, leaf-like bract 3.6 to 4 inches long; stalk 1.6 to 2.4 inch long; sepals 5, downy; petals 5, creamy-white; stamens numerous, in 5 clusters; stigma 5-lobed.
Fruit: Late July-August; nut-like, spherical, hard, pale tan to gray, woolly, about size of pea; seed spherical, dark brown.
Habitat: Wooded flood plains, stream banks, base of bluffs, often on north-facing slopes.
Distribution: East 1/3 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: Native American steeped the leaves and used the liquid as a wash and steeped the inner bark to treat dysentery and to increase urination. The inner bark was cut into strips, boiled, rubbed to separate the fibers, and spun into thread or twisted into cords. The cords were used to make rope and belts and was used to tie together wigwams and medicine lodges.
Comments: Basswood is not common in Kansas. It is considered a good shade tree. Fibers from the bark are called "bast', which give the tree the name "bast wood" The wood is light, soft, close-grained, and pale reddish-brown. It is used for picture frames, window sashes, crates, and for carving.

Basswood flowers
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood flowers
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood leaf
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood bracts
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood bracts
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood fruit
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood buds
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood buds
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Riley County, Kansas
Basswood leaf scar
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Riley County, Kansas