Species Detail

Tilia americana L.
Basswood; American linden

Scientific Name:  
Tilia americana L.
Common Name:  
Basswood; American linden
Myaamia Name:  
Medicinal, Material, Technology
Harvest Seasons:  
Growth Forms:  

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Tilia americana L.
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
No Reference Specified Technology  Inner bark of basswood is very fibrous. I learned from Gwen Yeaman how to make cordage from it.
Dunn, J.P. Circa 1900 Use - Technology  cordage from inner bark of "linn" tree. "For temporary use this needed no preparation. When boys went hunting with men; it was their first work to get linn bark to hobble the horses; while the men hunted. When rope was wanted for permanent use; the women boiled this bark; and twisted or braided it while it was damp"; "fresh inside bark was used"
Pease, Theodore Calvin and Raymond C. Werner 1934 Use - Technology  rope; greater than 2 cm diameter was made from "whitewood bark" by a soldier staying in an Illinois encampment
Raudot, A.D. 1904 Use - Technology  cordage for fishing nets made from nettles and wild hemp. The women gather; spin and twist lengths of cordage on their bare thighs. The cords used to draw these nets are made of the bark of basswood or leather. With these nets many fish and beaver are captured. They also fish with still lines up to 90 meters long [possibly of the same cordage material]
Raudot, A.D. 1904 Use - Material  women "gather reeds in which they sew a twine made of basswood to make a sort of straw mat which covers their cabins. Two; one over the other; shelters them from the greatest rain"
Tyner, J.W. 1968, September 9 Use - Material  bark peeled off trees and used to cover houses; using poles. "There was a tree they called linn trees; they would peel the bark off them and cover their houses and tie em down with a pole. Buckskin type"
Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 Use - Technology  bark used to make cordage. In a traditional story; Wissakatchakwa was telling an old man how to catch birds. "Peel a bunch of basswood-bark off the trees. Then dive into the lake; and tie the basswood bark to their feet. And . . . Tie them to your belt." He did this; then told all the ducks; geese; swans; and brants they had to leave. They flew away and carried him with them; until the bark broke . . . "
No Reference Specified Use - Material  there are 2 items that are possibly made with plant fibers; which could include dogbane; nettles or basswood; among others; at the Cranbrook Institute in Michigan
Charlevoix, P. 1923 Use - Technology  cordage made from inner bark. "The lesser occupations of the women and what is their common employment in their cabbins; are the making of threat from the interior pellicles of the bark of a tree; called white-wood [basswood]; which they manufacture nearly as we do hemp
Anonymous 1724 Use - Medicinal  root used to treat burns. "The root of the whitewood boiled for burns"
Gravier, J. ca. 1700 Use - Technology  bark used to make rope. Akwaanaapiikatoo; climb with a rope. "I climb by means of a cord; a vine; a long strong cord of bark from white wood"
Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 Use - Technology  bark used; probably for rope. "lania paxshakinanga wikapi-mizha; a man jerks off the bark from a linn-tree"
Pinet, P.F. 1696-circa 1700 Use - Unknown  "8akapimingi"; basswood
Botanical Sources  
Tilia americana L.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
Gleason, H.A. & Cronquist, A. 1991   Found in rich woods throughout eastern and western Miami lands
Related Sources  
Tilia americana L.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
Whitford, A. C. 1941   Fibers from this tree were the most commonly used by all Eastern North American Indians in the manufacturing of many items; including a Menomini bag using carefully prepared fibers; a Potawatomi bag; a Sauk and Fox bag; and Hopewell textiles. Basswood was used in an unprocessed form; where strips were cut from the fiberous bast; and in a highly processed state; where bast was thoroughly treated and spun into fine thread
Pease, Theodore Calvin and Raymond C. Werner 1934   Twine made from "white wood"; probably Basswood; was used to tie together reeds; about 10-12 bands of these twines at 6 inch intervals along the reeds; to make coverings for their "cabins" that were about 20 meters "10 fathoms" in length. They call them apacoya; a word which serves not merely to designate these; but which is a generic term for all sorts of coverings. They use the same term for bark boards; and two of these apacoyas; one on top of the other; protect one from the rain as well as the best blanket. These are the cabins which they use in autumn and winter; even if they leave their canoes; the women carry these on their backs
Blair, E 1911   Algonquians play a game called crosse; played with a wooden ball and racket with a netted end; like a tennis racket. "There is among them a certain game; called crosse; which has much likenes to our game of long tennis . . . You will see them all equipped with the crosse--which is a light club; having at one end a broad flat part that is netted like a racket [possibly dogbane; basswood; nettles; or another strong fiber"