Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Winged Elm - Ulmus alata
The Winged Elm - Ulmus alata, is a small to medium sized deciduous tree that reaches heights of less then 50 feet tall and usually not more than 1.5 feet in diameter. The Winged Elm has a generally wide, rounded crown that is made up of long slender branches many of which are winged with wide, cork like ridges on either side making the tree easier to identify. It is sometimes also referred to as the Cork Elm or Wahoo. Winged Elm is common in the Southern portion of the United States and can be found easily from Virginia south through Florida and West through Texas.
Image Citation: Joe Nicholson, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Winged Elm is thin, irregularly shaped, with rough flat plates, shallow fissures and light gray in color. When shaved or peeled back the bark will reveal thin bands f dark and off white thin inner layers. The leaves are 1.5-3 inches long and 1-1.5 inches broad, with evenly spaced coarse teeth that are divided by smaller thinner teeth in between. One side of each leaf is wider then the other, with the thin yellow vein appearing off center on each leaf. The leaves are a bright green in color and can be either smooth or rough on the upper surface, while the lower surface is always smooth. In the fall the leaves turn a lovely bright yellow and sometimes a coppery brown.
Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
The Winged Elm is a small tree and can be used in both commercial and residential settings. Since it is a relatively small tree it does not have value as far as lumber production is concerned. It is also not a desired firewood as the grain of the tree is interlocking and very difficult to split by hand. The Winged Elm has not been recorded to be affected by Dutch Elm disease, a disease that has been deadly to most Elm varieties. Recommended for hardiness zones 6a-9b.