25, 2004 09:49 PST
The large leaf and small leaf european lindens
(tilia cordata, tilia
platyphyllos and hybrids) have a reputation for considerable
the european continent, largely because of their ability to
breakage or decay by vigorous sprouting. Most of the well known
europe are short trunked open grown examples, and I have seen
many fine old
european lindens in parks in the eastern U.S. Washington park in
contains a small leafed linden about 140 years old with a truly
volume of wood, growing vigorously and in its prime.
In light of this, I was wondering if
anyone on the list has any
knowledge about the longevity of the american tilia species. I
references to a fairly short life span for the species, and I
have not heard
reports of any impressively aged specimens. Due to the close
between the american and european species, I have been wondering
Basswood is never mentioned in discussions of the oldest trees
in the east.
25, 2004 10:55 PST
While I cannot say why Tilia americana
does not have a long
lifespan, I can say that I have found no exceptionally old trees
Massachusetts. My sense is that they typically live to ages of
200 years. Maybe others on the list including Neil Pederson have
examples of older basswoods. The best source of longevity data
basswood may be Dr. Lee Frelich in Minnesota. He has done
some of the East's best basswood habitat for years. Lee, could
25, 2004 12:25 PST
Basswoods commonly live 100-150 years (above ground). A few
might live for
200 years. Since they stump sprout, we don't know how long an
lives when defined by genetics, rather than an above ground
The above ground basswood tree usually dies from buckling of the
are poor at walling off fungi and they all get hollow, and as
rings get smaller with advanced age and a larger trunk, the size
hollow eventually catches up with growth and reaches 3/4 of the
diameter, and the tree collapses at that point.
25, 2004 14:27 PST
all get hollow...reaches 3/4 of the total diameter...
FYI, we used to log solid, 3 ft+ American basswood in NE Maine
back in the late '60's/early '70's. With the long, bitterly cold
winters and low annual perception, I would assume that growth
was relatively slow for a fast growing species (the growth rings
were too inconspicuous to count). But I agree
that basswood, a very soft and light wood, more often hollows.
26, 2004 05:14 PST
Adam, Bob, Lee,
I think you will find that those 15-foot diameter, centuries-old
trees in Germany and Poland are not single-stemmed individuals
that have survived for that long. Both T. platyphyllos and T.
cordata can sprout from the roots or root collar. Niether
species is decay-resistant. These giant hulks that are so famous
are rotten, resprouting organisms. There is so much rot,
regrowth, fusions, etc., that it is difficult to tell the
history. This make it more mysterious, more romantic. This in
turn leads to exaggeration and mythology.
26, 2004 05:45 PST
It sounds like you found a special variety of basswood in Maine.
some of them are still there. Your experience with basswoods
shows why it
is important to have some old growth stands set aside throughout
range of each species. You never know what local adaptations
you will find.
Slow growing individuals (or many species) are often more decay
than fast growing ones. I wonder if we could find some basswoods
ones you describe somewhere in northern MN, which would be even
26, 2004 07:12 PST
Lee and Randy:
The idea of local adaptations has always interested me. I'm
curious about the degree to which small local genetic
explain the growth characteristics that we find on our best tall
sites and how much of the extra height of the trees on the best
can be attributed to the adaptations. At least for white ash,
inclined to believe that that local adaptations on the eastern
the Hoosac Mountain massif attributes a 10% - 15% difference to
maximums there relative to the maximums 20 miles farther east.
Interestingly for the region of Massachusetts for which we have
amounts of data, the same percentage range seems to apply to
My initial thoughts are that the difference may be a measure of
degradation of the growing stock for one region relative to the
That's simplistic, I'm sure, but it may not be too far fetched.
& Neil Pederson
27, 2004 06:25 PST
The oldest white spruce have been found at treeline. There is
something to be said about local adaptation. Ed Schulman wrote
this in Science magazine in the 1950s about the longevity of
bristlecone pine. He thought that the stressful growth
helped extend longevity.
Tree-ring researches have not studied basswood too much for the
reasons discussed by Lee. They are often too hollow. Maybe there
northern range margin site in MN, ME etc. that could inform us