Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20 - White Basswood - Tilia americana

White Basswood

White Basswood in May

This is a honey tree.

The leaves are alternate and heart shaped, 4-6 inches long, 3-4 inches wide, dark green and shiny underneath.

The flowers come out in June and July. They have a sweet fragrance and can be smelled for up to mile. The flowers are tiny with five whitish petals that hang down from a green bract. Bees are attracted to the flowers and will cover the tree during the blooming. That is why this tree is called a Bee tree. The bees make a honey that is called "water white" and is delicious.

Teas are made from the dried flowers. I have not tried this, yet I am going to.

"Under the Tilia tree
on the open field,
where we two had our bed,
you still can see
lovely both
broken flowers and grass.
On the edge of the woods in a vale,
sweetly sang the nightingale."

Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170–c. 1230)


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