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Ulmus resista - Elm

Field Maple leaves
European Alder

Common name:  Field Elm

Scientific name: Ulmus resista

Family: Ulmaceae

Origin: Native to Switzerland

Summary: Mature trees grow to 30 m. The bark is grey-brown, often with crossing ridges. The twigs are brown and occasionally have corky 'wings' or ridges. A phoenix from the ashes, the field elm has been able to recover from the decimation of Dutch elm disease thanks to its ability to grow easily. However, it’s still under threat, along with the wildlife that relies on it. 

Leaves: Glossy, flat and smooth but leathery to the touch, and double toothed, 6–15 cm in length. They have a characteristic asymmetrical base and taper to a sudden point at the top.

Flowers: Elms are hermaphrodites, meaning that both male and female reproductive parts are contained within the same flower. Flowers, which appear in February and March, are dark pink to red and hang in tassels.

Fruits: Once pollinated by wind, the flowers develop into tiny winged fruits, known as samaras. These are dispersed by wind.

Value to wildlife: Many birds eat elm seeds and the leaves provide food for the caterpillars of many moths, including the peppered, light emerald and white-spotted pinion moths. Caterpillars of the white-letter hairstreak butterfly feed on elms.

Uses of Field elm: Elm wood is strong and durable with a tight-twisted grain, and is resistant to water. It has been used in wood turning, and to make boats and boat parts, furniture, wheel hubs, wooden water pipes, floorboards and coffins.

Did you know? Before metal was widely available, many English towns had elm water mains, including Bristol, Reading, Exeter, Southampton, Hull and Liverpool.

Text courtesy of the Woodland Trust