Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Tilia americana has the common names of linden or basswood. Basswood, b a s s is a corruption of bast – b a s t. Bast is the fibers from the phloem of woody plants, the outer layer of the vascular system. If you search a plant at NRCS Plant Guide, you get the North American ethnobotanical uses of the plant. : Native Americans and settlers used the fibrous inner bark ("bast") as a source of fiber for rope, mats, fish nets, and baskets. First it must be separated by a process called “retting,” basically partially decomposing the other tissues. I wasn’t familiar with the term bast fibers but have learned that linen, ramie, hemp, and others fall in this category and that they have nodes which give them flexibility – and in this respect are different from seed fibers such as cotton.