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Thursday, November 5, 2015



Thursday, 8:00 AM.  55 degrees F at the ferry dock, 53 on the back porch.  Wind S, calm with light gusts.  The sky has a high overcast and the humidity is 94%.  The barometer is still falling and we may get a thunderstorm late this afternoon or evening.
   Basswood, Tilia americana, also know as American linden, in the Linden Family (Tiliaceae)is a normal component of the great eastern deciduous forest of North America.  It is a shade tolerant species found in association with sugar maple, red oak and ironwood.  It has good potential as a street tree, along with its counterpart, the European little-leaf linden, which is probably used to a greater extent.  
   Tilia americana has a very formal, pyramidal shape when young, becoming large and spreading at maturity.  The two trees are quite similar,  the European tree having much smaller leaves. The "little leaf" leaf is generally 3" or less in length and mostly heart-shaped ; the American species more than that in length, up to 4.5", and in shade can be very large.  It is not heart-shaped, but is rather irregular at the base of the leaf. The branches lack a true terminal bud, the dormant winter bud being slightly offset, in the axil of a terminal leaf.  The trees have toothed, simple leaves and alternate leaves and branches. Both trees provide heavy shade.  Both have a yellow fall color, the basswood being quite nice some years.
   An often overlooked aspect of the lindens is their sweetly scented flowers.  While not showy, the blossoms are heavily scented and a large tree will be render a considerable area fragrant.
   There are a few other,  less well known and less frequently used lindens, some hardy north, some not, but they are not as likely to be planted as street trees as the European and the American species.   
   The tree pictured is on the north side of Manypenny Ave., between Fourth and Fifth Streets.  Growth rate is moderate to fast, with few disease or insect problems.

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