Images: ©Jouko Lehmuskallio

Wych Elm

Ulmus glabra

  • Name also: Scots Elm
  • Family: Elm Family – Ulmaceae
  • Growing form and height: Tree. 15–25 m (50–80 ft.).
  • Flower: Small, brownish. Perianth undifferentiated, 4–5-lobed. Short-stalked flowers in dense umbels.
  • Leaves: Obovate, abruptly narrowing into a slender point, usually with unequal-sided base and short stalk. Blade with rough upper side and doubly dentate margin.
  • Buds: Dark-brown, hairy, leave buds sharp-pointed, tapering, egg-shaped, flower buds roundish.
  • Fruit: A pale brown, broadly winged nut (a samara) (16–30 × 14–20 mm). Wing with smooth margins.
  • Habitat: Lush broadleaf woods, especially below steep rock faces. Also a park tree, often an escape. Prefers calcareous sites.
  • Flowering time: April–May. Flowers before coming into leaf.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in the whole of Finland, including the Åland Islands.

There are two indigenous elm species in Finland. The wych elm is a demanding species of rocky but nutrient-rich slopes or stream-sides in broadleaf woods. Pollen analyses of peatlands show that 5,000 to 6,000 years ago this species grew much further north than today. At that time the climate was considerably warmer in Finland.

The elms are trees which flower before coming into leaf in spring. Their most typical characteristic is the unequal base of the leaf-blade. The flowers are small, bisexual, protandrous, and wind-pollinated. The wych elm is a handsome park tree and its tough and very durable timber has been used in carpentry.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family
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