TREES & Plants

American basswood

American basswood is native to the Chicago area and is often used as a specimen or dense shade tree.  Its heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers in June make it especially attractive for people, while songbirds and blue jays are attracted to its seeds and use the tree for shelter.

Botanical name: 
Tilia americana
All Common Names: 
American basswood, American linden, basswood
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Growth Rate: 
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial shade (4-6 hrs indirect light daily)
  • Dry sites
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Yellow
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Oval
  • Pyramidal
  • Rounded
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Time of Year: 
  • Early summer
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care


Disease, pests, and problems


Disease, pest, and problem resistance


Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 5


Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

  • attracts songbirds and bluejays; the birds use the tree for its seeds and shelter.

Bark color and texture 

American linden (Tilia americana)American linden (Tilia americana)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture


  • Shape: heart-shaped

Flower arrangement, shape, and size


Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions


Cultivars and their differences 

Tilia americana ‘Redmond’ (Redmond American Basswood):  'Redmond' is a dense, pyramidal cultivar.  (Formerly classified as Tilia x euchlora 'Redmond'