Saturday, May 25, 2019

Sustainable Saturday - Linden Memories

When I moved to Binghamton, in upstate New York, in the 1980's, my first residence was in a neighborhood that had a Linden Street.

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
When full grown, it is a majestic tree.  But, as infomercials love to say, "But wait!  There's more!"

This tree is known as the linden, or basswood.  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.

The wood is excellent for hand carving.

The inside of the bark was used by native Americans for making cords and ropes.

 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.)

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.

If that wasn't enough, foresters use this tree as a tree "canary", a first signal of environmental change.

Now, in late May, the trees are getting ready to bloom.  I am eager to smell their delightful scent once again.  Last year, they didn't seem to bloom heavily but this year, the trees are loaded.

Happy Saturday to you!  Do you have a tree in your area with delightful scented flowers?


  1. I'd never heard the name but it is a beautiful tree. Same for me when I was younger and lived on Catalpa Circle.

  2. I live in a neighborhood where the street all have Tree names...but we don’t have a Linden. I ne’er thought about whether the street names connected to the type of tree we’ve got growing

  3. I love the lavender but I think they're bushes. In my yard they look like trees.
    Last week I visited an arboretum and now have a renewed appreciation for trees.

  4. I wonder how many streets are named after trees. I'm sure there are many. The trees should be lining those streets, don't you think?


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