I never gave much thought to a street named after a tree. In fact, I don't know if there are any linden trees on Linden Street. But, there are some in the Binghamton neighborhood where I do my exercise walking, several miles away.
|Tilia americana, Binghamton, NY|
This tree is known as the linden, or basswood, here in the United States. Some in Europe call it the lime tree (not our lime citrus tree, whose name is derived from Arabic). Not only is it a beautiful shade tree, and able to survive urban conditions, but it is a multi use tree.
|Young linden tree (the red in the picture not part of this tree)|
The wood is excellent for hand carving.
The inside of the bark was used by native Americans for making cords and ropes.
The young leaves are edible in salads.
Its sap was used by the Native Americans the Europeans called Chippewa or Ojibwa in a way similar to maple syrup The bloom are edible, too, and have medicinal uses. A tea can be made from them. And, the bees love them - if you've ever had basswood honey,this is the tree bees make that from.
(Caution: as usual, be careful when foraging any wild plant. And, some people are allergic to these flowers. I am not a wild food expert, and my provided links are for your reading pleasure only.)
The leaves are heart shaped.
This past week, the linden trees in Binghamton were in bloom. These are not large blooms, but they are unusual. See the little, lighter, elongated things near the blooms?
As the trees age (these trees can live to 200 years old, or even longer) they start to decline. The holes become shelter for various wildlife.
And, if that wasn't enough, foresters use this tree as a tree "canary", a first signal of environmental change.
What more could you want in a tree?
I've never used this tree for food (I don't own one), but I love looking at them - and I enjoy the brief time when they bloom.
Do you have a favorite tree? Why?