Along with the smell of the ocean air, you may notice the additional fragrant scent of Linden trees when strolling around downtown Newburyport. These aromatic trees fill the coastal town’s air with a bright, sunny, and sweet scent when they bloom towards the end of June and through the beginning of July.
Local Realtor, Lisa Yeastedt, discovered these trees while dining at the Vera outdoor cafe located directly next to her Bentley’s Real Estate office in Market Square. Along with the savory scents of her meal, Lisa noticed a sweet fragrance she had not smelled before. Wanting to know where the smell of a combination of honey and grass was coming from, she took a walk with her dog Forest after her meal and found herself at the nearby Newburyport Visitor Center on Merrimack Street. The sweet smell of the Linden tree had traveled all the way from Waterfront Park to Market Square where she was dining earlier.
Linden trees, also known as lime or basswood trees, can be identified by their distinct heart-shaped leaves, giving them a romantic appearance. There are 30 species of these large, deciduous trees that can be found in Europe, North America, and Asia. Growing to be 65 to 130 feet tall, these tall trees bloom with clusters of cream to yellowish flowers and small pea-sized fruits during late Spring and early Summer months. It is these blossoms that create the distinct scent Lisa discovered while dining outdoors at one of Newburyport’s delicious restaurants.
Linden trees are not only wonderful to look at and smell, but they also produce useful products. The trees are an important honey plant, making rich flavored honey, and the Linden tree flowers can be used for teas and herbal remedies.
So next time you visit Newburyport to shop, dine, and explore make sure to stroll around Waterfront Park. Follow the scent and look for the heart-shaped leaves to spot our local linden trees.