This is the third in a series of Nature Notes columns on Frederick County’s trees. Discover Frederick’s diverse array of trees on a self-guided walking tour. To see all of the trees, it should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Currently there are 27 trees; a list and a map are available at

American basswood (Tilia Americana)

Native basswoods, aka linden trees, aka lime trees (in England, which can be very confusing for tourists) are also nicknamed “bee trees,” because when they are covered with their distinctive blooms in the spring, they are so attractive to pollinators they can be heard buzzing from a hundred yards away. If you can’t hear the bees, you can smell the linden tree flowers’ honey-lemon scent from close to a mile away.

Once you take note of their unusual and interesting blooms, you will learn to recognize all the varieties of linden trees easily, as they retain remnants of these blooms throughout the season, and they can be seen from far away once you know what you are looking for.

Cousins of the American basswood, little-leaf linden trees are very common street trees, because they are quite happy in the sidewalk and parking lot wells. Costco here in Frederick has used little-leaf trees as its primary parking lot tree; there are many on Key Parkway; and they have also been spotted near Kohl’s.

Weeping willow (Salix babylonica)

Although weeping willow is likely a hybrid of the babylonica species, it is typically referred to by this species name. These iconic trees are native to China, and they were originally spread to the Western world via the Silk Road in the 18th century.

Weeping willows grow very fast, but are not very long-lived, rarely living past their 75th birthday, which is quite young for most tree species. Like all willows, weeping willow bark contains salicylic acid, which is the precursor to aspirin, and has been used for centuries to relieve fevers and pain. Our own North American white willow (Salix alba) contains much more of the active substance, but weeping willow works in a pinch. However, don’t start chewing off the bark and trying this at home, as splinters in the gums can be quite unpleasant.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.