Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

White Basswood, Linden, White Linden, Silver-leaved Linden

White Basswood, Linden, White Linden, Silver-leaved Linden

Tilia americana var. heterophylla (T. heterophylla)


Full to part sun; medium moisture level; prefers fertile loamy soils; very strongly acid to neutral pH.

50-80 feet height by 30-60 feet spread; pale yellowish to creamy white flowers in drooping clusters of 6-20 flowers in late spring to early summer; small nutlets with attached leafy wings in late summer.

Growth Rate: Moderately fast

Maintenance: Frequent disease and insect problems. Particularly susceptible to Japanese beetles.

Propagation: Very difficult from seed due to very low germination rates

Native Region: Concentrated in Middle and East Tennessee plus Tipton and Shelby counties in the Coastal Plain Province

Tall, stately tree with numerous slender, low hung, spreading branches and a rounded crown.   Can be used for a lawn or shade tree but is somewhat intolerant of city conditions and should not be allowed to dry out. Showy fragrant flowers. Fall color is an undistinguished pale green to pale yellow. Tends to sprout at the base, producing a clump of trees around what was the original tree. Occurs naturally on rich fertile sites on lower slopes and river bottoms, usually on deep, well-drained soils. Very similar in appearance and habit to American Basswood (T. americana var. americana) with the primary distinguishing characteristic being the presence of a dense felt of white hairs on undersides of leaves. Cultivars available.

Valuable wildlife planting. Fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals. Provides good browse, and buds are important for deer and birds in winter. Wood decays easily and produces many cavities, especially in trees 100 years or older, which are used by cavity nesting animals. Prolific nectar producer, and honeybees use the nectar to produce a choice grade of honey. Also attracts butterflies and a wide variety of native bees.


3 responses to “White Basswood, Linden, White Linden, Silver-leaved Linden

  1. Richard Gilbert August 6, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Where can I buy this tree? The more common Basswood is available, but I never see this listed.

    • joystewart August 7, 2019 at 2:22 am

      You are correct….this is one darned hard-to-find tree. We always try to verify that a species is available commercially before we post it on our website. It is possible we failed to do that with this species or that the supplier we originally found has discontinued its sale. However, I can give you some suggestions that may help. ‘Continental Appeal’ is a cultivar of Tilia americana var. heterophylla. It also goes by the name of “Continental Appeal American Linden.” You are likely to have better luck searching by this latter name. If you can find that, you have essentially found a Tilia american var. heterophyla (or a Tilia heterophylla, whichever you prefer to call it). I found two wholesalers in the U.S. that currently have it in stock. If they are not willing to sell to you retail, they should be able to give you names of retail nurseries who are buying it from them. One is Puget Sound Plants in the state of Washington at 866 816-5080. Probably not a good bet given how far they are from Tennessee. The other is Bold Spring Nursery of Hawkinsville, Georgia at 478 783-4975. I wish I could be of more help. If you do find one, let us know!

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