Herb: Carolina Basswood

Latin name: Tilia caroliniana

Synonyms: Tilia americana caroliniana, Tilia americana pubescens, Tilia ashei, Tilia floridana

Family: Tiliaceae (Linden Family)

Medicinal use of Carolina Basswood:

A tea made from the flowers is antispasmodic, diaphoretic and sedative.

Description of the plant:


20 m
(66 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Grows best in rich moist woods, or in dense hummocks by streams in the south of its range.

Edible parts of Carolina Basswood:

Young leaves - raw. A tea is made from the flowers. A very good chocolate substitute is made from a paste of the ground fruits and flowers. Trials on marketing the product failed because the paste decomposes readily.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre is obtained from the tough inner bark It can be made into diverse items such as mats, shoes and coarse cloth. Wood - soft, light, easily worked. Used for interior finishing, woodenware etc.

Propagation of Carolina Basswood:

Seed - much of the seed produced in Britain is not viable, cut a few seedcases open to see if there is a seed inside. If possible, obtain fresh seed that is ripe but has not as yet developed a hard seed coat and sow it immediately in a cold frame. It may germinate in the following spring though it could take 18 months. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate. It has a hard seed coat, embryo dormancy and a hard coat on the pericarp. All these factors mean that the seed may take up to 8 years to germinate. One way of shortening this time is to stratify the seed for 5 months at high temperatures (10C at night, up to 30C by day) and then 5 months cold stratification. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in spring just before the leaves unfurl. Takes 1 - 3 years. Suckers, when formed, can be removed with as much root as possible during the dormant season and replanted immediately.

Cultivation of the herb:

Grows best in rich moist woods, or in dense hummocks by streams in the south of its range.

Known hazards of Tilia caroliniana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.