If you want a tree straight from a Bob Ross painting the American Linden is a great choice as it provides texture, depth, ruggedness, and happy little bees.
The American Linden is a great shade tree with lustrous green foliage. It is a pollinator magnet as well as a great tree for its landscape and timber value. Native to Jefferson County the American Linden can be found both in the uplands and wetlands of the county. The common name of basswood is derived from “bastwood”, in reference to the tough inner bark or bast. This layer of bark was used by Native Americans to make rope and mats, a practice which was taught to settlers. Trees are commercially harvested for their light wood which is used in the furniture industry as well as veneers, along with boxes.
The clusters of fragrant yellow flowers in June and July attract pollinators from all over the region and trees are known to audibly hum with all of the activity. While some people have claimed that some species of Linden are toxic to bees, this theory was proven to be false and American Linden was never associated with these claims. Honey bees, much like the native bees, also find this tree irresistible. The honey from linden trees is considered some of the finest tasting honey available.
The wildlife value of the tree is not limited to bees. Lightning bugs are noted for being quite fond of the tree and areas with lindens and native pines are known to have thousands of lightning bugs filling the night sky. The tree is also a larval plant for 151 species of butterflies and moths. Song birds frequent the tree to feed on the insects and the branching habit of the tree also makes good nesting sites. Additionally, the seeds produced by the tree are eaten by birds and squirrels.
The tree is historically one of the earliest propagated trees in North American .George Washington planted the trees around his Upper and Lower Garden to attract pollinators to the area which would also pollinate his fruits and vegetables. ■