American Elm
Ulmus americana
Family Ulmaceae

* Leaves elliptical to oblong ovate, double-toothed, 4-6" long.
* Fruit greenish, wafer-like, with a seed inside a papery covering.
* Mature bark dark gray, in flat-topped ridges separated by roughly diamond-shaped areas.
* Arrangement of branches gives tree unique vase-like shape
* Height: 80-120'.

Natural History:
* Flowers March - May.
* Fruits April - May.
* Habitat: Forests, bottomlands.
* Range: Southeastern Canada and eastern United States.
* Native.

* Full-sized elms are now rare, since most have been destroyed by Dutch elm disease, an introduced fungus spread by a bark beetle. In years past, they lined the streets of small-town America. Disease-resistant varieties are now available; the Chinese elm is able to withstand the fungus. Wellesley College has one remaining American elm; look for it on College Road, near Dower.

* Elms are noble, important trees; countless heroic and historic deeds have been enacted beneath them. In Cambridge Common, George Washington took command of the Continental Army and initiated America's fight for independence. Numerous noteworthy elms once stood throughout America; Buffalo Bill supposedly played beneath the Green Tree elm in Iowa as a child, the "Divine Elm" of Boonesborough, Kentucky shaded that state's first legislature, and General Lafayette rested beneath a Massachusetts elm that was subsequently named for him.

* "Sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees."
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892

* "What makes a first-class elm?
Why, size in the first place, chiefly. Anything over twenty feet of clear girth, five feet above the ground, and with a spread of branches a hundred feet across, may claim that title, according to my scale."
-Sherlock Holmes, in The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008