The genus Ulmus contains the elm trees, which are both deciduous and semi-deciduous. Elm trees, which may reach 100 feet (30 meters) tall with a 75-foot (22-meter) spread, are massive shade trees. Some elm species have an umbrella-shaped canopy, while other elm species have tall, upright growth. The oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges, a sharp end, and visible veins are a characteristic of most elm trees.
Elms come in 35 different species, eight of which are found in North America. The tallest, bushy elm trees, which are known as Asiatic elms, have the greatest variety of elm trees. China, India, eastern Siberia, and Central Asia are all home to these native elms.
Examining the bark, leaves, and other characteristics of elm trees can help you determine which species you’re dealing with.
Elm Tree Facts
Elm trees have a wide, spreading canopy and are a common kind of big tree. In backyards, along residential streets, or in parks, elms are often used to provide shade.
The deeply ridged bark and serrated margins of elms make them stand out. A kind of flowering tree known as elms may also be found. The elm tree produces seeds bound in an oval papery structure called a samara after blooming in the spring.
In the timber business, elm tree timber is valuable as well. Elm wood is durable, rot-resistant, and splitting. It’s still flexible, though. Ship keels, archery bows, furniture, and musical instruments are all made of elm wood.
Elm disease, a fungal infection that develops in the tree’s sapwood, is frequently linked to Dutch elm disease. The bulk of American elms (Ulmus americana) were nearly wiped off as a result of this disease. It’s critical to identify sick elms and remove them so they don’t infect other elms in the neighborhood to prevent the spread of Dutch elm disease.
Dutch elm disease is more resistant to certain new species and cultivar forms of elm trees.
Elm Tree Leaves
Elms have jagged edges and a pointed tip on their leaves. Each leaf of the elm tree has obvious green veins, as seen in the pictures. The jaggy leaf blade has a somewhat lopsided appearance due to the shorter left half of the leaf.
The leaves of most elm tree species are 4 to 6 inches (10 to 12 cm) long and 2.5 to 3.5 inches (7 to 9 cm) broad.
The leaves of most elms are light green to dark green. Depending on the species, these leaves turn golden yellow or dull yellow in the autumn.
Elm Tree Bark
Elm bark has deep furrows and a scaly appearance. It is a dark grayish-brown color. These vertical fissures intersect and form a web-like pattern. The lace-like textures on the tree trunk and branches are described by common names like “lacebark elm.”
Elm Tree Seeds
Elm tree seeds are tiny and spherical, with an oval papery casing known as a samara protecting them. These light green elm samara grow in clusters and each has a single seed. After flowering, the elm seeds disperse in the spring from the tree.
Elm Tree Identification
Elm trees feature gray bark with deep furrows, double-serrated serrations on their pointed oval leaves, and a massive spreading canopy that can be seen from afar. Elm flowers are tiny clusters of blooms that turn into spherical samaras, or elm seeds, in the spring. In the fall, elm leaves change to golden yellow.
Types of Elm Trees (With Pictures)
American Elm (Ulmus americana)
The American elm tree, with its umbrella-like canopy, is a massive deciduous tree. With a broad-rounded crown of 75 ft. (22 m) width, American elms, sometimes known as white elms or water elms, reach 80 ft. (24 m) tall. Because of its susceptibility to Dutch elm disease, the American elm has lost popularity over time.
American elm bark has deep diamond-shaped fissures and wide ridges. It is grayish-brown in color.
Elm tree leaves are 3″ to 5″ (7.5 – 13 cm) long and wide, with ovate shapes. They come from American elm trees. Double-serrated uneven edges characterize these green elm leaves. The blade has visible veins on the surface and is smooth.
Florida Elm Tree (Ulmus americana var. floridana)
The Florida elm, which is smaller than the American elm, grows quickly. The leaves of Florida elms are ovate in shape and have serrated edges, giving the tree a vase-shaped appearance. The American elm bark has a similar hue and feel to the bark.
Chinese Elm Tree (Ulmus parvifolia)
Little deciduous or semi-deciduous trees with a thin stem and bushy crown, Chinese elms are tiny trees. Chinese elm trees reach a height of 33 to 60 feet (10 to 18 meters) and are also known as lacebark or drake elms. Elms of this species are often used as ornamental tree plantations or shady tree plantations.
Chinese elm trees have thin, small patches of orangey bark interspersed throughout their flaking bark.
Chinese elm leaves are tiny and leathery, with single-toothed borders, and they have a short life cycle.
Bosque Elm Tree (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Bosque’)
Bosque elms are tall, graceful trees with an oval canopy and branches that slightly droop, and they are a cultivar of the Chinese elm. In parks and along suburban streets, the Bosque elm is a popular shade tree. The peeling bark and golden-red leaves of this elm tree cultivar in the autumn are both interesting features.
Bosque elm is a small tree that is usually less than 6 m (20 ft.) tall and is a fast growing tree.
Cedar Elm Tree (Ulmus crassifolia)
The deciduous tree known as the cedar elm is native to North America and can be found growing in Texas. The Texas Cedar Elm can reach a height of 82 feet (25 meters). It has a spreading rounded crown with green leafy foliage. Cedar elms have big, small oval green leaves and rough bark. They are huge trees.
In some growing zones, Texas elms are semi-deciduous or evergreen, despite the fact that they lose their leaves in the fall.
Basket elm, scrub elm, southern rock elm, and lime elm are some of the other common names for cedar elm.
The leaves of Elm trees in Texas are the smallest of any Ulmus species native to North America. Up to 2″ (5 cm) long and 0.7″ (2 cm) broad, jagged-edged leaves
Siberian Elm Tree (Ulmus pumila)
Small to medium-sized bushy trees with a rounded crown of thick foliage, Siberian elm trees are tiny to medium-sized. The Asiatic elm, also known as the dwarf elm, and the Chinese elm are sometimes mixed up. Between 50 and 70 feet (15 and 21 meters) tall, Siberian dwarf elms exist.
Little red blooms, winged seeds, and brittle branches that break easily are all features of Siberian elms.
Siberian elm bark is gray with vertical fissures running up the trunk.
Siberian elm tree leaves have a lustrous dark green coloration with serrated borders and are usually arranged in pairs. The leaves are 1.2 inches (3 cm) broad and 3 inches (7 cm) long.
Japanese Elm Tree (Zelkova serrata)
Large deciduous trees with a wide canopy and rounded form, Japanese elms (Zelkova serrata) The short trunk of the fast-growing elms branches out into many spreading branches, identifying them. The huge shrubby elms may stretch to 55 feet (16 meters) tall.
Since they are resistant to Dutch elm disease, Japanese elm trees are commonly used as ornamental shade trees.
In comparison to other species of elms, Japanese elm bark is smooth. Grayish-brown to grayish-white bark with flaky bark is common.
Japanese elm tree leaves have serrated edges and are oblong-ovate in shape. The rounded base and pointed tip of the tiny light green leaves.
Cherry-Bark Elm (Ulmus villosa)
Marn elms, sometimes known as cherry-bark elm trees, are huge bushy trees with a rounded form that grow to 82 feet (25 meters) tall. On the thick trunk of the elm tree, the smooth bark is occasionally concealed by branches. The elliptic rather than round samaras of cherry-bark elms are a distinguishing feature.
Long-leaved cherry-bark elm trees are commonly used as shade trees in parks, and they are resistant to Dutch elm disease.
Cherry-bark elms have a smooth bark with flaky bark bands that wrap around the tree, similar to birch trees. Elm tree bark: Cherry-bark elms have a smooth bark with flaky bark bands.
Cherry-bark elm trees feature long, oblong, brilliant green leaves with crisp margins. The pointed tip of marn elm leaves, which are up to 4″ (11 cm) long and 2″ (5 cm) broad, distinguishes them from those of other trees.
Wych Elm Tree (Ulmus glabra)
The wych elm, also known as the Scotch elm, is a widely recognized European elm species with a huge umbrella canopy. The massive rounded crown of Scotch elms can grow up to 130 feet (40 meters) tall. The deciduous elm can be found throughout Northern Europe and is cold-hardy.
Short fat trunks, spreading branches, and winged samaras distinguish Wych elms.
As the tree grows, elm tree bark develops fissures. It’s gray and smooth when young, but as it matures, it darkens and becomes rough.
Scotch elms or wych elm leaves are large, broad, and have ovate shaped blades. The leaves are up to 6.5 inches (17 cm) long and 5 inches (12 cm) broad, and they are lime green.
Golden Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Lutescens’)
A smaller cultivar of the species Ulmus glabra, golden wych elms are a valuable tree. This elm grows to be no more than 50 feet (15 meters) tall and has a 65-foot-wide (20-meter) umbrella canopy.
When growing in full sun, this wych elm cultivar has bright yellow leaves that are a distinguishing feature.
Camperdown Elm Tree (Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’)
The Camperdown elm cultivar has drooping branches that give it another common name – ‘weeping elm.’ Unlike other elms, the Camperdown elm has a flat canopy and pendulous branches. This weeping elm grows to between 15 and 25 ft. (4.5 – 7.5 m) tall.
Camperdown elm tree bark has a straight, upright stalk and is greyer and smoother than English elm tree bark.
Camperdown elm leaves are large, double-toothed, veined, and rough to the touch. In the fall, weeping elm leaves turn dull yellow and grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long.
English Elm (Ulmus procera)
Huge deciduous elms with rough bark and coarse leaves, English elm trees are a sight to behold. English elms can be utilized in hedgerows or grown as huge tree-like bushes in gardens, despite their size. The tallest mature English elms reach 100 feet (30 meters).
English elm bark is rough and fissured, with a grayish-brown hue.
English elm leaves are black green with serrated edges and an asymmetrical base. Elm tree leaves: These elm leaves are between 1.5 and 3.5 inches (4 and 9 cm) long, as compared to wych elms.
Field Elm (Ulmus minor)
The tall, graceful appearance of field elm trees, tiny leaves, and rough bark distinguish them from other types of elm. The little oval, glossy green leaves of the elm tree are referred to by its botanical name Ulmus minor. Elms grown in field can grow to be 100 feet (30 meters) tall.
Field elms have bark that looks like wood blocks on the tree trunk, and it is rough, furrowed. Gray-brown bark is found on this elm tree species.
Field elm trees have little, smooth leathery leaves with an asymmetrical base and a pointed tip. The leaves are between 2.3 and 6 inches (6 to 15 cm) long, with double teeth along the edges.
English Elm ‘Atinia’ (Ulmus minor ‘Atinia’)
Other names for the English elm cultivar ‘Atinia include common elm or simply English elm. This fast-growing elm is one of Europe’s biggest deciduous trees. Big English elms grow to be roughly 130 feet (40 meters) tall with a thick trunk of 6.5 feet (2 meters) in diameter. This English elm’s leaves are what distinguish it from other species.
The Atinia elm bark is light-gray in color, with shallow furrows and a slight scaly feel.
Elm tree leaves are virtually oval and tipped with a blunt tip, as seen in all elm leaves. English elm ‘Atinia’ leaves Look for a blade with teeth-like edges that point upwards and an asymmetrical base.
The medium-sized Ulmus slippery elm is native to North America. Slippery elms are also known by a variety of other names that relate to the tree’s features. The color and soft feel of sections of the bark are described by gray elm, soft elm, or red elm.
The appearance of slippery elms is comparable to that of American elms. The red inner bark, chestnut-brown buds, and fuzzy twigs distinguish slippery or red elms from American elms. Red or slippery elms, which grow to around 40 and 62 feet (12 and 19 meters) in height, are also smaller than American elms.
The mucilaginous inner bark of the elm is used to make slippery elm, a common herbal remedy. Slippery elm is also known as the Indian elm because Native Americans utilized the red bark in traditional medicine.
Slippery elm has a scaly appearance with reddish-gray bark that has long shallow furrows.
Red elm leaves are obovate in shape and have a rough top surface with a velvety bottom surface. Serrated borders identify these leaves, just like with other elm tree leaves. In the fall, the leaves of slippery elm turn dull yellow after a red color.
European White Elm (Ulmus laevis)
Deciduous trees with a rounded crown and loose branch formation, European white elms are deciduous. The European white elm reaches heights of up to 100 feet (30 meters). The wych elm, another native European tree, looks a lot like this kind of elm.
The fact that it is one of the first elm trees to lose its leaves in the fall is what distinguishes the European white elm.
When the trees are young, European white elm tree bark is pale-gray and smooth. The grayish bark gets scaly with traces of reddish-brown bark as the elms age.
European white elm leaves have the typical elm-leaf toothed edging and lopsided appearance, with ovate leaves.
Dutch Elm (Ulmus hollandica)
Hybrid elms (Ulmus glabra x Ulmus minor) exist between wych and field elms, such as the Dutch elm. Hybrids between Dutch elms and other species reach 130 feet (40 meters) in height. This elm hybrid has a conical form, light-colored leaves, and serrated ovate leaves, and there are various cultivars available.