Entry Detail

basswood, American linden

Entry Type:  
Scientific Name:  
Common Name:  
basswood, American linden
Myaamia Name:  

Media not available.
Myaamia Archival Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz 1758 No Reference Specified

"The Louisiana Indians (Natchez) used lime tree [Tilia is also called lime tree in the United Kingdom] bark to make fish nets. The fishing nets “are meshed like ours and made of lime-tree bark; the large fish are shot with arrows” 


Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 No Reference Specified

"wikapimizhi linn - or basswood. Make baskets of it; get its bark use whole length of the tree".

Pease, T. C. and R. C. Werner 1934 No Reference Specified

Rope, greater than 2 cm diameter was made from the "whitewood bark" of a Linden tree by a soldier staying in an Illinois encampment ("elle etoit d'ecorce de Bois blanc, traissee plus grosse que le poulce").

Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 No Reference Specified

"lania paxshakinanga wikapi-mizha, a man jerks off the bark from a linn-tree"

Anonymous 1724 No Reference Specified

The root is used to treat burns. "The root of the whitewood boiled for burns" ("De la racine de bois blanc bouillee pur la Bruleur").

The author is describing tribal customs from the upper Midwest, probably including some of the Miami-Illinois tribal groups. – Michael Gonella
Kellogg, L.P. 1923 No Reference Specified

Cordage is made from the inner bark of the linden tree: "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".

Gravier, J. ca. 1700 No Reference Specified

The bark is 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" ("je monte par une corde, une vigne, une babiche longue et forte, de l'ecorces de bois blanc").

Raudot, A.D. 1904 No Reference Specified

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".

Raudot, A.D. 1904 No Reference Specified

Cordage for fishing nets is 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".

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Archives No Reference Specified

"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".

Gonella, M.P 2003-2006 No Reference Specified

"The inner bark of the basswood is very fibrous. I learned from Gwen Yeaman how to make cordage from it".

Gonella, M.P 2003-2006 No Reference Specified

"Basswood chocolate is made from the flowers of the basswood. Just boil them down until they are mushy and they taste great!"

Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 No Reference Specified

Linden bark was 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 . . . "

Dunn, J.P. ca. 1900 No Reference Specified

Cordage is made from the inner bark of "linn" tree. "For temporary use this [plant] 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".

Cranbrook Institute of Science 2003 No Reference Specified

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.

Botanical Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Data Comments
Gleason, H.A. and Cronquist, A. 1991 Habitat 

Occurs in rich woods throughout eastern and western Myaamia lands.

Related Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Data Comments
Pease, T. C. and R. C. Werner 1934  

Twine made from 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 ("quelques jours apres ces femmes qui restent s'en vont dans des pirogues don’t elles ont jusqu'a trois dans chaques cabanes, couper des joncs don’t ils Couvrent leurs Cabannes, ce sont de ceux qui croissent dans leurs marais qui apportent des quenouilles lesquelles pres avoir oste une peau qui envelope plusieurs brins ensembles ils les font secher au soleil et passent une ficelle qu'ils font de bois Blanc de l'un a l'autre, a dix ou douze endroits de distance d'environ demy pieds, ils en font qui ont jusqu'a dix brasses de longueur, ils appellent cela apacoya, ce n'est pas que ce mot servent seulement a cela, c'est un mot qui est generique pour toutes sortes de couvertures, ils disent de mesme pour des planches, et deux de ces apacoya L'un sur l'autre, metent aussi bien a la pluye que la meilleure couverture, se sont les Cabanes dont ils se servent l'automne et l'hiver, quoy quils quittent leurs pirogues, les femmes les portent sur leurs dos").

Pinet, P.F. 1696-circa 1700  

"8akapimingi", basswood

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".

Dunn, J.P. ca. 1900  

linn or basswood - me-kop-pe-mind-dji

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.