Monday, May 4, 2020
Slippery Elm - Ulmus rubra
The Slippery Elm - Ulmus rubra is a medium sized tree that seldom reaches heights of more then 70 feet tall when fully mature. When grown in an open area this tree tends to have a broad crown with long tapering branches and upward turned twigs. From a distance the crown is sometimes described as two open hands touching at the wrist and then spreading away from one another. The Slippery Elm is native to the Eastern United States from Maine to North Dakota in the North and Florida to Texas in the South. Slippery Elm is not typically planted as an ornamental tree, but does provide shade by growing upright along fencerows that are already established.
Image Citation: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Slippery Elm ranges in color from light silvery gray to reddish brown. The texture of the bark is a matrix of thin, wide, tight, flat topped, rough ridges with rounded edges divided by shallow irregularly shaped valleys. The bark plates often appear to be more of a plastered collection then divided from one another by ridges and valleys. The leaves are double toothed 4-7 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, more or less oval in overall shape. The upper leaf surface is dull in luster and dark green in color, rough in texture similar to sandpaper. The lower leaf surface is is very hairy and also rough to the touch. The fruit is a very small, flat, papery, circular, winged disk that is borne each Spring.
Image Citation: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org