Native Americans and settlers used the fibrous inner bark (“bast”) as a source of fiber for rope, mats, fish nets, and baskets. Basswood is still valued for its soft, light, easily worked wood, especially for turned items and hand carving. It once was the material of choice for prosthetic limbs, but these are now made from synthetics.
The Basswood has a heart shape leaf that caterpillars love to chew on. Its bark has long lines that run up and down tree that turns black in the rain. The leaves are larger on one side than the other or asymmetric. Knocking on the trunk gives off a hallow sound.