Elm American Elm White Elm

=Habitat and Range.=--Low, moist ground; thrives especially on rich


From Cape Breton to Saskatchewan, as far north as 54 deg. 30'.

Maine,--common, most abundant in central and southern portions; New

Hampshire,--common from the southern base of the White mountains to the

sea; in the remaining New England states very common, attaining its

highest development in the rich alluvi
m of the Connecticut river


South to Florida; west to Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas.

=Habit.=--In the fullness of its vigor the American elm is the most

stately and graceful of the New England trees, 50-110 feet high and 1-8

feet in diameter above the swell of the roots; characterized by an

erect, more or less feathered or naked trunk, which loses itself

completely in the branches, by arching limbs, drooping branchlets set at

a wide angle, and by a spreading head widest near the top. Modifications

of these elements give rise to various well-marked forms which have

received popular names.

1. In the vase-shaped tree, which is usually regarded as the type, the

trunk separates into several large branches which rise, slowly

diverging, 40-50 feet, and then sweep outward in wide arches, the

smaller branches and spray becoming pendent.

2. In the umbrella form the trunk remains entire nearly to the top of

the tree, when the branches spread out abruptly, forming a broad,

shallow arch, fringed at the circumference with long, drooping


3. The slender trunk of the plume elm rises, usually undivided, a

considerable height, begins to curve midway, and is capped with a

one-sided tuft of branches and delicate, elongated branchlets.

4. The drooping elm differs from the type in the height of the arch and

greater droop of the branches, which sometimes sweep the ground.

5. In the oak form the limbs are more or less tortuous and less arching,

forming a wide-spreading, rounded head.

In all forms short, irregular, pendent branchlets are occasional along

the trunks. The trees most noticeably feathered are usually of medium

size, and have few large branches, the superfluous vitality manifesting

itself in a copious fringe, which sometimes invests and obliterates the

great pillars which support the masses of foliage. Conspicuous at all

seasons of the year,--in spring when its brown buds are swollen to

bursting, or when the myriads of flowers, insignificant singly, give in

the sunlight an atmosphere of purplish-brown; when clothed with light,

airy masses of deep green in summer or pale yellow in autumn, or in

winter when the great trunk and mighty sweep of the arching branches

distinguish it from all other trees. The roots lie near the surface and

run a great distance.

=Bark.=--Dark gray, irregularly and broadly striate, rather firmly

ridged, in very old trees sometimes partially detached in plates;

branches ash-gray, smooth; branchlets reddish-brown; season's shoots

often pubescent, light brown in late fall.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds ovate, brown, flattened, obtuse to

acute, smooth. Leaves simple, alternate, 2-5 inches long, 2-3 inches

wide, dark green and roughish above, lighter and downy at first beneath;

outline ovate or oval to obovate-oblong, sharply and usually doubly

serrate; apex abruptly pointed; base half acute, half rounded, produced

on one side, often slightly heart-shaped or obtuse; veins straight and

prominent; leafstalk stout, short; stipules small, soon falling. Leaves

drop in early autumn.

=Inflorescence.=--April. In loose lateral clusters along the preceding

season's shoots; flowers brown or purplish, mostly perfect, with

occasional sterile and fertile on the same tree; stems slender; calyx

7-9-lobed, hairy or smooth; stamens 7-9, filaments slender, anthers

exserted, brownish-red; ovary flat, green, ciliate; styles 2.

=Fruit.=--Ripening in May, before the leaves are fully grown, a samara,

1/2 inch in diameter, oval or ovate, smooth on both sides, hairy on

the edge, the notch in the margin closed or partially closed by the two

incurved points.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in any soil,

but prefers a deep, rich loam; the ideal street tree with its high,

overarching branches and moderate shade; grows rapidly, throws out few

low branches, bears pruning well; now so seriously affected by numerous

insect enemies that it is not planted as freely as heretofore;

objectionable on the borders of gardens or mowing land, as the roots run

along near the surface for a great distance. Very largely grown in

nurseries, usually from seed, sometimes from small collected plants.

Though so extremely variable in outline, there are no important

horticultural forms in cultivation.

1. Winter buds.

2. Flowering branch.

3. Flower, side view.

4. Fruiting branch.

5. Mature leaf.

=Ulmus fulva, Michx.=

Ulmus pubescens, Walt.