Basswood Tilia americana
Family: Tiliaceae (Linden)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: Linden

Basswood is a fairly common tree in upland forests  It is usually quite easy to identify.  The bark is a light grey and develops long vertical fissures as it ages.  Often the tree is found in clumps with multiple shoots.  There is alot of variation within the species as far as leaf size and shape are concerned.  Generally, the leaves resemble Elm leaves (both are asymmetrical and toothed) but buds will always differentiate.  The buds have only a few scales and range from reddish to tan.   The other main trees with red buds are Hawthorns and Chokeberries.  Also called Linden, though this primarily refers to the introduced ornamental versions.  They are commonly found in cities, and typically have much smaller leaves and a purplish cast to the young bark.  The buds are generally smaller, but not by a large degree.

Reddish buds of a typical Basswood.  

Twig.  Often Basswood buds are much less red, sometimes almost tan.

View of the reddish buds

The very distinctive fruit of Basswood, coming out of a modified leaf

Young bark

Mature bark has long vertical fissures

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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