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Midwest Regional Reports

Infusions of Linden and Elder | Midwest Regional Report

Harvest these native flowers to create delicious summer treats

American elder in bloom. Photo: Erin Presley

The dew-laden and steamy waves of a June breeze carry a world of scents to enjoy. Pay attention to certain trees and shrubs blossoming at this time of year. With a few simple kitchen ingredients, you can revisit those same heady summer fragrances all year round.

Largeleaf linden. Photo: Erin Presley

In seeking the source of that sugar-sweet smell in late June or early July, you might look up and notice the overhanging ivory-yellow, bell-shape flowers of a linden tree. Trees in the genus Tilia go by many common names: basswood, linden, or lime. Linden cultivars are frequently planted as street trees, selected for their tidy form and appreciated for their heart-shape leaves that emerge in a glossy lime color in the spring and fade to a mellow yellow in the fall. The American linden (Tilia americana, Zones 2–8), which is native to the Midwest, is a huge, multistemmed tree…

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