The American basswood tree (Tilia Americana Linnaeus, also known as the American linden tree) is a large tree native to eastern and central North America. Its soft, light wood is easy to carve and it makes a nice shade tree in urban areas. Older trees become hollow and provide nesting sites for birds and small mammals.
In Central Park, the numerous basswood trees make their presence known in late July when they flower and produce a distinctively strong, sweet aroma that can be carried on a breeze for some distance. The flowers attract bees (giving the tree the knickname "Bee Tree") and the resulting white honey has an equally strong flavor. The flowers eventually form nutlets, each containing 1 or 2 seeds, that are attached to leafy wing bracts that will carry the seeds around the area surrounding the tree.