Ulmus - Elm Tree
DESCRIPTION: Ulmus is the botanical name for the Elm Tree. These trees are found in Europe, Asia, the Himalayas and northward, and North America, east of the Rocky Mountains and as far south as northern Mexico. Elms may form small trees or bushes, or very large trees growing from 90 to 200 feet high. They are widely used as shade trees. The small flowers of the Elms contain both stamens and pistils and are usually a purplish color. The seeds are centered in a flat, papery disk. They ripen during early summer, but sometimes only a small percentage are fertile. Unfortunately, these trees, especially the American and European species, are subject to a fatal disease called the Dutch Elm Disease. The Siberian and Chinese Elms are resistant. The symptoms are wilting and yellowing leaves on one or more branches. U. americana, the American Elm, grows into a large tree from 100 to 120 feet high with a diameter of 4 to 6 feet. The oval leaves are glossy, dark green on top and paler and downy underneath. They ordinarily taper towards the tip and have double-toothed edges. They grow from 3 to 5 inches in length. The trunk is divided rather low into several large branches. The American Elm has a vase-shaped outline when mature. There are many varieties of this Elm having yellowish leaves or different shapes. The wood of this tree is hard and strong and fairly difficult to split. It is used in the manufacture of furniture, boxes, crates, barrels, and a variety of other uses. U. fulva, the Slippery Elm, grows from 60 to 70 feet high. It forms an open-headed tree. Its leaves are oblong to oval in outline and 4 to 7 inches long. They are very rough and dull dark green on top, and paler and fuzzy beneath; the edges are double-toothed. The wood of this tree is hard, strong and durable and is used for many of the same reasons that the American Elm is used. The bark of the slippery Elm has many medicinal uses. It has diuretic, emollient, demulcent and pectoral properties and is used for inflammation, ulcers, etc. The mucilaginous inner bark of the Slippery Elm is sometimes chewed and used medicinally for coughs and throat irritations. In some parts of the country it was used as a dressing for sores. It is somewhat nutritious and was used to an extent by the Indians for food. The bark of the English Elm, U. procera, has astringent, demulcent and diuretic actions.
POTTING: Elms will thrive in soil that is acidic or alkaline. Loamy soil is the best, though.
PROPAGATION: Seeds should be used whenever possible. The different kinds come true to type only when the parent trees are isolated, because they hybridize very easily. Some produce suckers abundantly; these may be detached and planted as young trees. Layering may also be done, using specially cut-down plants in the nursery for the purpose. Rare varieties may be grafted on closely related understocks. When using seeds, sow them thinly (as soon as they are gathered) in light soil. They will soon germinate and make good growth before the summer's end. Another method of propagating rare varieties is by root cuttings.
VARIETIES: U. americana & var. ascendens, aurea, columnaris, pendula; U. fulva; U. Thomasii; U. alata; U. crassifolia; U. serotina; U. procera; U. carpinifolia & var. pendula, suberosa, variegata, sarniensis, Guernsey or Jersey Elm, Webbiana, cornubiensis; U. glabra & var. pendula, fastigiata, Camperdownii, Wredei, laciniata, lutescens, nana, monstrosa, purpurea; U. hollandica & var. vegeta, belgica, superba, Pitteursii; U. carpinifolia; U. viminalis & var. aurea, variegata; U. laevis; U. parvifolia; U. pumila.
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