Family:     Malvaceae 

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     18-40m (60-130ft)

Blooming: June - July


American Linden

Tilia americana  L. 

Stem: thick and deeply furrowed.  

Flowers: formed in hanging clusters.  These clusters are attached to a long, paddle-like greenish-yellow bract.  The flowers are small with five petals and sepals.

Leaves: alternately arranged on the stem.  The underside of the leaves sometimes has tufts of hair present.  Leaves are relatively large with usual size of 7-15 cm long and 7-12 cm wide.  They are heart shaped and asymmetrical at the base with a pointed tip.  The leaves are toothed.

Sun:  Full sun to shade 

Comments: American linden, also called American basswood, is common throughout landscapes and natural areas in Northwest Indiana.  Once cracked open, the seeds have been reported to be made into a chocolate substitute paste. 

Pultzer Prize winning American poet, Theodore Roethke wrote in his poem "The Far Field",

All finite things reveal infinitude: 
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow, 
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
A scent beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree : 
The pure serene of memory in one man, --
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world.

Butterfly/Moth host plant: the larvae use American linden as a host:  Yellow-Banded Underwing (Catocala cerogama)

photos by Nathanael Pilla

Etymology: Tilia is possibly from the Greek word for elm, ptelea, and is the Latin name for, Linden.  Americana simply means "from America".

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444 Barker Road

Michigan City, IN., 46360 

The mission of Save the Dunes is to preserve, protect and restore the Indiana dunes and all natural resources in Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed for an enhanced quality of life.

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