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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

American Basswood

Tilia americana
Family: Malvaceae

Natural History

Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida

Also known as "American linden," basswood is a desirable ornamental tree known for its fast growth and longevity. The tree frequently has two or more trunks, and vigorously sprouts from stumps, as well as seed. The long-stalked, heart-shaped leaves provide abundant shade to urban streets and sidewalks.

Basswood leaves are similar to those of red mulberry (Morus rubra). The trees can be distinguished by pulling a leaf off the tree. Red mulberry leaves have a milky sap that is visible when the petiole (or leaf stal) is pulled from the twig. Basswood sap is clear. Red mulberry leaves also have a coarse upper surface. When you rub the upper surface, you can feel a rough sandpaper-like leaf. Without physical investigation of the leaves, red mulberry could easily be mistaken for basswood.

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