A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
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.