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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Anderson

'Favorite Tree of the Virgin Mary'

Hello Native Tree Lovers,

I’m what I would consider a decent reader – not a particularly big reader, but I enjoy my books. One I just finished and really enjoyed – you’ve probably read it – was The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. It’s set during WWII, and one of the main characters, Kasia, is sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. One of the very, very few joys she discovers at the notorious camp are the Linden Trees, “favorite tree of the Virgin Mary,” she says.

Apparently the Virgin Mary had a few favorite trees, although the Linden may have been among them. Interfaith Mary reports of miracles happening at the “holy linden tree,” and the Am-Pol Eagle, in The Blessed Linden Tree, reports of shrines built in Poland in the 900s near the Linden Trees.

Am-Pol further reports that some of Poland’s greatest writers celebrated the tree, including a poem dated to the 1500s promising of the Linden: “I shall be the most giving tree the Lord has planted.”

In the United States, the Linden is known as Basswood, Tilia americana, reportedly because Native Americans used the inner bark, or bast, to make cords and nets (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Extension).

This large and beautiful June-flowering tree can get 50 to 80 feet tall with a spreading crown providing excellent shade, and since the lower branches drape downward, it also offers great opportunities for youngsters to play under and build forts.

The Basswood’s heart-shaped, dark-green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in the fall. Also fragrant, the “bee tree” attract so many bees the buzzing can be heard from several feet away.

So if you've got a little space, maybe try the Basswood.

Fun fact: ☺ Honey made from the nectar of the Linden flower is considered gourmet, and its flowers have been used to make tea. ☺

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May 02, 2022

Good to know - will keep an eye out for basswoods from now on!

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