The leaves of the American Linden or Basswood have a distinctive cordate or heart shape and notched, uneven bases. Furthermore, they have serrated edges and end in a pointed tip. In addition, they are alternately arranged.
Twig and Bud Identification
The twigs of the American Linden or Basswood are slender and grey in color with some lenticils. In addition, this tree has distinct buds that are often described as being “humpback” since one side typically bulges disproportionately. Furthermore, the buds typically have 2-3 bud scales that are a reddish color and have a false terminal bud.
On younger trees, the bark is smooth and grey-green. However, as the tree matures, it develops long, narrow ridges and furrows that are dark grey in color.
The fruit of the American Linden or Basswood appear in distinct clusters of small, rounded nutlets on a stalk that hang from narrow, elliptical, winged bracts. The purpose of the bracts is to help increase dispersion by acting as a sail. The fruit typically ripens in late fall and will sometimes remain on the tree until early winter.
The flowers of the American Linden or Basswood are pale yellow and hang in hairless long-stalked clusters. In addition, the flowers typically have 5 petals and are known for their fragrance. Furthermore, the flowers usually appear in May or June and are monoecious.