Specimen Provenance: New planting spring 2017
Common name: Little Leaf Linden, Small-leafed Linden, Winter Linden.
Scientific Name (family and order): Tilia cordata Miller (Malvaceae, Malvales)
Species Origin: Europe, Caucasus
New Jersey Status: USDA Introduced
Habit: Medium to large deciduous tree. 50’ -70’ tall x 35’ – 50’ wide; bole 1- 3’ diameter.
Habitat: Zones 3 -7. Grows on limestone. Shade tolerant tree.
Trunk/Stem: Bark is gray , smooth becoming gray-brown, furrowed with age. Older tree has a buttressed trunk with many spouts (suckers) around it. Branches often droop to the ground. The inner bark is known as bast, a fibrous wood used to weave into rope.
Leaves: Deciduous, Simple, Alternate. Ovate, cordate to asymmetrical circular shiny dark green leaves, 2 ½” wide, above and blue-green below. Undersurface smooth except for hairs in the vein axils; leaves are 3 1/4” long x 2 ¼” wide with acuminate tips, serrate margins and cordate base. Leaves turn yellow in autumn.
Flowers: Perfect. Flowers blooming in late spring. Up to 10 flowers in each droroping cluster with a green bract. Each flower is ¼” wide, has five pale yellow petals and is fragrant.
Fruits and seeds: Small nutlet, ¼” wide, attached to narrow bract-like wing. Nutlet hard, dry and 4-ribbed with fine brown-gray hairs. Matures in autumn and may persist all winter.
Characteristics: The genus name comes from the Latin name for Linden or lime tree, Tilia. The specific epithet refers to the “heart-shape” of the leaves. In southern Sweden it is known as the linn or lind tree and was the origin of the family name Linnaeus. The common name “basswood” is derived from bastwood in reference to the tough inner bark (the bast) which was used to make rope and mats. The bloom is attractive to bees. Throughout European history (last 2000 years) this tree was coppiced (cut to the ground) and left to sprout; its sprouts were used for buildings and fences. This tree can be coppiced repeatedly.