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Basswood

Scientific Name: Tilia americana

Height: 50-80 ft

Spread: 30-50 ft

Bloom Time: June

Crown Density: Dense

Native Range: Eastern United States, Pennsylvania

Ecological Value: Flowers provide nectar and pollen for insects, especially bees. It is a larval host plant for over 150 caterpillars including tiger swallowtail butterflies. Squirrels and other small animals enjoy its seeds.

Human Value: Use young leaves like salad in lettuce. Young leaves may also be cooked. The flowers can eaten fresh or cooked or made into tea. Traditionally, fibers from the inner bark were used for cords. Seeds can be eaten from the hand, chewing and spitting out the shells. Trunks can be coppiced to provide an ongoing crop of new leaves throughout the summer.

So far in 2020, our basswood seems to be the tree most attractive to spotted lanternflies. I have not seen enough of an infestation to warrant the collateral damage of using insect tape on tree trunks, but it may become necessary as the autumn approaches.

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