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Tilia americana 'Fastigiata': 'Fastigiata' American Linden1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


'Fastigiata' American linden grows 50 to 70 feet tall and 30 to 45 feet wide forming a narrow pyramidal shape with upright branches and shiny leaves and is fairly drought-tolerant. The tree is pyramidal when young but develops into a striking specimen with an upright, rounded oval atop a tall, straight trunk. The lower branches remain on the tree and gently drape toward the ground before sweeping up in a gentle curve. The four to eight-inch-long, heart-shaped leaves are dark green throughout the year fading only to pale green or yellow before dropping in autumn. In June, the trees produce abundant, two to three-inch-wide clusters of very fragrant, light yellow blooms which are extremely attractive to bees, who make a delicious honey from their harvests. The small, grey nut which is later produced will persist on the tree until midwinter. The trunk on the species can grow to six feet or more across on mature specimens.

Figure 1. Mature Tilia americana 'Fastigiata': 'Fastigiata' American linden
Figure 1.  Mature Tilia americana 'Fastigiata': 'Fastigiata' American linden
Credit: Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Tilia americana
Pronunciation: TILL-ee-uh uh-mair-ih-KAY-nuh
Common name(s): 'Fastigiata' American linden, 'Fastigiata' basswood, 'Fastigiata' American basswood
Family: Tiliaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 4A through 8B (Fig. 2)
Origin: native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: hedge; street without sidewalk; tree lawn > 6 ft wide
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 50 to 70 feet
Spread: 30 to 40 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: pyramidal, columnar
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: serrate
Leaf shape: ovate, cordate
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage


Flower color: yellow, green
Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: round, oval
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: tan
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Figure 4. Fruit
Figure 4.  Fruit

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: green, brown
Current year twig thickness: medium
Wood specific gravity: 0.37


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: none


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

This tree is large and needs plenty of room to develop. Branches should be well-spaced along a central trunk to allow for development of a durable structure. Left unpruned, crotches with embedded bark can develop but the wood is flexible so branches usually do not break from the tree. The tree is considered to have a strong branch structure. Plant it as a specimen or shade tree on a commercial property where there is plenty of soil space available for root expansion. It can be used as a street tree in large tree lawns or along a street without a sidewalk, but is sensitive to road salt. Be prepared to remove sprouts periodically from the base of the trunk.

A North American native tree, American linden prefers moist, fertile soils, acid or slightly alkaline, in full sun or partial shade. More shade tolerant than many other large trees. The leaves will show appreciable browning after a particularly dry season, but the tree appears fine the following year. It is often found (and prefers) growing along moist stream banks but tolerates some drought.

The cultivar 'Legend' is pyramidal, grows with a single, straight trunk, and upright, well-spaced branches; 'Redmond' has a broad pyramidal canopy. These can all be used in large tree lawns along streets.

Propagation is by seed, cuttings, or grafting.


Mainly aphids, although Japanese beetle, European linden bark borer, linden borer, walnut lace bug, caterpillars, basswood leaf miner, elm sawfly, scales, and linden mite can all be troublesome problems. The aphids will secrete a honeydew which will result in a dark soot over objects below the tree, such as parked cars or lawn furniture.


Anthracnose, leaf blight, canker, leaf spots, powdery mildew, and verticillium wilt are some diseases than can infect American linden. Leaf rust can cause some defoliation.


1. This document is ENH-838, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-838

Date:April 23rd, 2015

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