Types of Elm Trees with their Bark and Leaves – Identification Guide

Elm tree is a tall deciduous tree that belongs to genus Ulmus and typically has rough saw-edged leaves and cultivates from root suckers. In the mythological world, it stands for victory and achievement of goals. And in the spiritual world it associates with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Elm trees are one of those dramatic trees that you will spot in every thriller and fantasy movie. Elm trees happen to choose their own landscaping because each one of them is blessed with a unique feature. Fortunately for you, we are here to cover different types of Elm trees so that you get the perfect fit with minimal hustle.

Identification Guide for Elm Trees

Before we go ahead and learn about different types of Elm trees, it is very essential for you to know the factors that will help you identify one. There are four major factors that will help you with identification – Elm leaves, elm barks, elm trunk and height.

Elm Leaves

Elm leaves grow in a cross -section pattern shaped oval and has serrated pattern. Usually, Elm leaves have smooth top and rough undersides. When it comes to American Elm leaves, they are long, pointed and can grow up to 10 – 14 cm.

Elm Barks

Detailed furrows, sharp scales and deep openings clearly indicates towards an Elm tree. Mostly, the colour of barks are brown to gray and in some types, you might notice a reddish-brown bark.

Elm Trunk

One thing that separates Elm tree from other vertical and single trunk trees is that it has splitting trunk. A fully grown Elm tree have two or more trunks branching from its main trunk.

Height of an Elm Tree

Depending on the type, Elm tree can grow from 60 to 150 feet. Yes, this tree has the potential to grow in very large sense. The width is estimated to grow up to 60 feet.

There is one more factor that might help you in identifying an Elm. The types of creatures that are attracted by it. Generally, you will find Possum, Squirrels Woodpeckers and Raccoons around the tree eating Elm leaves or Samara’s. Samara is name of the fruit that is produced by an elm tree. 

Types of Elm Trees

1. American Elm Tree (Ulmus Americana)

American Elm Tree (Ulmus Americana)

American Elm Tree is also known as the white elm or water elm. It is one of the largest elm tree type that can grow up to 100 feet. It was a very popular pick back in days when fountain -like trees were a sign of royalty. Today also it is one of the most popular elms.

American Elms are large deciduous tree, the canopy of which give an umbrella-like look. Before the discovery of Dutch elm disease, the American elms were popular as a shade tree. This tree happens to be prone to phloem necrosis which is a plant disease of the elm trees.

American Elm leaves are unique and oval. Double-serrated leaves, blessed with deep brown, gray barks make it stand in the way of harsh winters. Six hours of direct sunlight every day is the only condition to get the best results.

2. Cedar Elm Tree (Ulmus Crassifolia)

Cedar Elm Tree (Ulmus Crassifolia)

Cedar Elm tree is also known as cedar elm or basket elm. This deciduous tree is native to south, central, and north America and people in Texas are very fond of it, hence making it a popular pick in Texas. Sometimes they are also found in northeastern Mexico.

This tree has a very typical growing pattern, it grows best when in flat valley bottom areas. It potentially grows up to 24 to 27 m with a rounded crown. The bark of this tree is majorly gray in colour and a narrow-opened trunk.

Cedar Elm leaves are comparatively small and has an oblique base. They grow from 2.5 to 5cm long with a width that goes from 1.3 to 2cm. The fall happens in in early winter and in late summers you can enjoy the sight of small reddish-purple flowers all over.

3. Cherry Bark Elm Tree (Ulmus Villosa)

Cherry Bark Elm Tree (Ulmus Villosa)

Cherry Bark Elm Tree is also known as Marn Elm. It is one of the most distinctive Asiatic Elms because of its remarkable longevity. It can be found easily in the valleys of Kashmir at the elevations 1200 to 2500 m.

This Elm can grow up to 25 to 30 m and has a smooth distinctive bark, branches hung loosely. Also, the barks are sometimes used for medicinal purpose because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Cherry Elm leaves are bright green and oval. However, they are heavily rough and uneven on the edges. In springs, you can notice densely clustered 12 mm long purple samaras with white hair coverings.

4. David Elm Tree (Ulmus Davidiana)

David Elm Tree (Ulmus Davidiana)

David Elm tree is also known as Father David elm. This elm is small deciduous tree and are largely distributed across Japan, Korea, Siberia, and China. Basically, you can spot this in wetlands along waterfalls at the elevation of 2000 to 2300 m.

David Elms are very similar to American Elms but lack in height and that is why popularly called smaller version of American elms. They have the potential to grow up to 50 to 60 feet. These elms serve a purpose of providing good shade, due to its dense canopy which can be achieved at a mature phase.

David Elm leaves are elliptical that initially grows as red in contrast to green. It is rough on the edges and smooth underside. It grows with a slender trunk and grayish coloured bark.

5. English Elm Tree (Ulmus Minor ‘Atinia’)

English Elm Tree (Ulmus Minor ‘Atinia’)

English Elm Tree is also known as common elm or horse may. They are blessed with a life span of 100 years and are commonly found in central southern England. It is also one of the fastest growing trees in Europe under the deciduous tree category.

The potential growth of this tree is 130 to 135 feet. English Elm barks are grayish brown in colour with deep and rough openings with trunks that grows up to 6.5 to 8 feet.

Before the growth of English Elm leaves, tree witnesses the reddish-purple flowers in the early spring. This elm leaves are hairy, toothed, and dark green in colour. It grows in a circular or orbicular pattern.

6. Slippery Elm Tree (Ulmus Rubra)

Slippery Elm Tree (Ulmus Rubra)

Slippery Elm tree is also known as red elm because it has the red tinge of the wood. The other common names are gray elm, moose elm, Indian elm, and soft elm. This Elm is native to eastern north America and is also capable of surviving in dry and intermediate soils.

Slippery Elm is a medium deciduous tree with the ability of spreading branches and has a potential to grow up to 39 to 62 feet. The colour of the wood is mainly red as said earlier, that’s how name red elm came into existence.

Slippery elm leaves are broad and oblong. It has the capacity to grow up to 10 to 12cm long. Initially the leaves are red in colour, then it turns in to dark green and by the end of the summer you will notice a fall of dull yellow leaves.

7. Wych Elm (Ulmus Glabra)

Wych Elm (Ulmus Glabra)

Wych Elm is also known as scots Elm. They have the widest range of the elm species from Europe, Ireland, Arctic circles, and some southern mountains in Greece. It grows on the elevation at 1500m and potentially can grow up to 40m.

, Unlike other elms, root suckers are not visible in this one, the reproduction happens naturally by seed alone. The most distinguishable characteristic if this tree is that it is very tough and are usually without any wings.

Wych Elm leaves are oval, very deciduous and can grow up to 6 to 17cm with broadness of 3 to 12cm. You can enjoy the scenery of hermaphrodite flowers right before the appearance of leaves in spring.

8. Rock Elm Tree (Ulmus Thomasii)

Rock Elm Tree (Ulmus Thomasii)

Rock Elm tree is also known as cork and are deciduous in nature. Primarily, this tree is native to Midwestern United States. Also, you can find them Ontario, Quebec, Kensas and Minnesota.

This Elm grows up to 50 to 100 feet and has capacity to survive for 300 years. It grows with a cylindrical crown with comparatively shorter and narrow leaves. Rock elm bark is deeply grayish brown with scaly and flattened ridges.

Rock elm leaves are widely round and oval and can grow up to 5cm to 10cm with a symmetrical base and acuminate base. Leaf goes from glittering dark green to turning yellow in autumn. Samaras are the broad fruits with long covered fine hair maturing in May or June.

9. Camperdown Elm Tree (Ulmus Glabra ‘Camperdownii’)

Camperdown Elm Tree (Ulmus Glabra ‘Camperdownii’)

Camperdown Elm tree is also known as weeping elm or umbrella elm. This elm was founded on Scotland and is now native to United Kingdom. Initially, it was found in the forest at Camperdown house and later got replanted in the respective house. The original tree was growing 3m below the average height.

There is another feature that makes this elm species different is that it has the contorted branch with a weeping habit.

Camperdown Elms are popularly known for their thick, dense, and dark green foliage with overly twisted root-like branches. During the spring, the elms get covered with beautiful blossoms that bursts the small flowers covering the entire dome.

10. Chinese Elm Tree (Ulmus Parvifolia)

Chinese Elm Tree (Ulmus Parvifolia)

Chinese Elm tree is also known as lacebark elm. It is native to Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and eastern Asia. It is one of the most splendid elms with a graceful poise. It is a small to medium semi-deciduous that has the potential to grow up to 33 to 59 feet.

Chinese Elm leaves are tiny, dense and has a leathery texture to it. However, the leaves are single-toothed and can grow from 2 to 5 cm long with a width of 1 to 3 cm. These leaves are quite sustainable as you will find them on the tree in late December and sometimes even January.

Other than the Samara’s, it also produces small and inconspicuous flowers in early autumn known as apetalous. It has a distinctly handsome trunk and a flaking bark with grey and red tans, but it can become dangerous after the major branch loss giving canker-like wounds.

11. Siberian Elm Tree (Ulmus Pumila)

Siberian Elm Tree (Ulmus Pumila)

Say hello to a dwarf-like elm. Siberian Elm tree, because of its small size is also known as a dwarf elm and Asiatic elm. Sometimes it is mistaken to Chinese elm. The last encounter of this species of elm happened in semi-desert regions of central Asia.

These elms are widely cultivated in Argentina, southern Europe, north America and commonly in the United States. It has the potential to grow from 20 to 25 m tall. Siberian Elm leaves are elliptic and change it color from dark green to yellow in autumn.

The barks of these semi-deciduous trees are irregularly longitudinal and darkish gray in color. However, the branchlets are yellowish gray with unwinged and disturbed lenticels. The flowers emerge in early February and usually damaged by the frost.

12. Winged Elm Tree (Ulmus Alata)

Winged Elm Tree (Ulmus Alata)

Winged Elm tree is small to the medium-sized deciduous tree that can be easily located in the woodlands of southeastern and south-central united states. It is named clearly named after its appearance. It is extremely thin and has a running growth towards the length of its branches.

Winged Elm leaves are bright green in color with jagged edges and designed oval. The elm leaves turn bright yellow in summers and tiny burgundy flowers appear before the leaves.

It has darkish brown bark with a tinge of gray and scaly rough ridges. The Winged Elm tree is not taken very seriously as it is the least shade-tolerant and is readily available to invade in the oil fields.

13. European White Elm Tree (Ulmus laevis)

European White Elm Tree (Ulmus laevis)

European white Elm is also known as fluttering elm, spreading elm, stately elm and in United States it is called Russian elms. The native to this species is very evident as it lies in the name. They are very popular in Europe to France and is sometimes encountered at the elevations above 400m.

These are fast-growing large deciduous trees with an open circular crown and can grow up to an average height of 30 to 35 m. White Elm leaves are glossy deep green leaves that can grow up to 6 to 12 cm in length.

The bark of this Elms is greenish-gray in color that is initially very smooth but eventually becomes fissured. In the months of March and April, you can see the cluster of bright red flowers and some tiny round samaras. Another reason to buy these elms are it is capable of withstanding short flood and long flood.

14. Bosque Elm Tree (Ulmus Parvifolia ‘Bosque’)

Bosque Elm tree is a cultivator of the Chinese elm tree. These elms are tall and graceful. It also has an oval canopy with drooping branches. This tree is very popular for the residential landscape because it provides a tremendous amount of shade.

Bosque elm leaves are very appealing because of their golden-red shade that can be seen during the falls. It has peeling bark and is one of the fastest-growing trees. However, it can only grow up to 20 to 25 feet.

15. Field Elm Tree (Ulmus Minor)

Field Elm Tree (Ulmus Minor)

Field Elm is found in its natural comfort zone that is south of Europe. However, the native range can extend to Asia and Iran. To see the best field elms, go to low-lying forests close to the rivers. Due to this, they are expected to deal better with summer floods.

Just like the American Elms, Field elms are also capable of reaching a height of 100 feet. Field elms have rough barks and a round crown. An interesting fact about this elm is that it does not compromise on living even if affected by Dutch elm disease.

Field Elm leaves are initially small but tend to grow with the maturity of the tree which takes around 10 years of time. They also produce top-notch oval-shaped samaras that are sized 12 to 15mm.

16. Japanese Elm Tree (Zelkova Serrata)

Japanese Elm Tree (Zelkova Serrata)

Japanese Elm tree is a semi-deciduous tree that has the potential to grow up to 98 feet. When young, this elm grows the fastest. The growth decreases as the lifespan of the tree increases.

Japanese Elm Leaves grow up to 5 cm long and have an equivalent width. The elm leaves grow from bright green to dark green in summers and in autumn it turns to yellows, oranges, and finally red. Along with the leaves, grows a flower with tiny brown scales in spring.

Elm barks are short with branching of a vase shape. The color of the branch goes from grayish to white to grayish brown with exfoliation that allows you to see the orange color of the inner bark. The branchlets are colored from brownish-purple to deep brown.

17. Mexican Elm Tree (Ulmus Mexicana)

Mexican Elm Tree (Ulmus Mexicana)

Mexican Elm tree is known for one of its very distinct characteristics, its height. This elm has the potential to grow up to 270 feet. Yes, you read it right. Along with this they are blessed with grey trunk that supports a deep crown providing a humongous amount of shade and great durability.

These Elms are mostly found in the tropical rainforests located in Central America and cannot survive in extremely cold weather. Mexican Elm leaves can grow from 5 to 10 mm with a breadth of 2 to 7 cm. The elm bark is grayish-brown in shade with furrowed ridges and twinges.

18. Large Fruited Elm

Large, fruited elm is named after its capacity of producing large samaras. These elms are commonly found in far way east and are exceptionally tolerant to extreme temperatures. Unlike other elms, large-fruited elm has an option to grow either as a deciduous or a shrub.

It has the potential to grow up to 50 to 55 feet. When young, it gets a little difficult to distinguish this elm from an American one. However, they do not grow up as tall as an American elm.

Large, fruited elm leaves are oval and has a leathery corky texture to it. This elm walks in with a landscaping potential and has a strong resistance towards Dutch elm disease.

Get Your Facts Checked

Once you have picked the type of Elm according to your landscaping needs, make sure you have understood all the Elm facts correctly. Thank us later for helping you in making an informed decision.

  • The dwarf-like species, like the Siberian Elm tree is best suited to fulfill the ornamental needs of the houses with big backyards.
  • Standing at a distance, the Elm tree looks like a vase because of its outwardly arched branches and trunk limbs.
  • Elm flowers are generally self-sufficient with their pollination needs. The flowers are expected to appear before the foliage and happens during the winter or early spring.
  • The breeding of Elms is required to be done at seed-planting, grafting or root cutting. You are free to choose any one period or if you love your plants a little more than at all periods.
  • Beware of Dutch elm disease that walks in with Elm trees. Once infected with this disease, the tree cannot survive for more than 30 years.
  • Elm trees are very medicinal in nature. They have been used in treating gunshots, wounds, diarrhea, and diseases related to urinal traction.
  • If you love nature and want to do have every luxury around it, then go get an Elm. A single elm tree has the capacity to give the cooling effect that can be compared to 5 AC units combined.

To know more about the Elms and such other kind of trees, stay tuned with us.

Leave a Comment