Picture of the Week

June 13, 2022

Chinese Elm

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist-retired, Purdue University

Q: I have some leaves from a tree I would like to identify. It is roughly 8 to 12 inches in diameter and fairly tall. The leaves are alternating with lengths of 1.5 to 2 inches long. The leaf stalks are all really short compared to the leaf length. Can you identify? – M.R., Brookville, Indiana

A: This appears to be Ulmus parvifolia – common name Chinese elm or lacebark elm. This species is quite attractive. It grows 40-50 feet tall at maturity and has attractive small leaves and interesting mottled bark. This species is quite adaptable to urban conditions, and so far, appears to have good resistance to Dutch elm disease and elm leaf beetles. Do not mistake this species for the inferior Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila), which is far less ornamental and rather a weedy species.

Photo Credit: Purdue Arboretum

Ulmus parvifoia leaves Ulmus parvifoia leaves
Ulmus parvifoia bark Ulmus parvifoia bark
Ulmus parvifoia twig with leaves and fruit Ulmus parvifoia twig with leaves and fruit

The Purdue Arboretum has more information about Chinese elm, available at https://mlp.arboretum.purdue.edu/weboi/oecgi3.exe/INET_ECM_DispPl?NAMENUM=701&DETAIL=1&startpage=1#.YqJT8pLMJBw.


The Missouri Botanical Garden also has some information, available at www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=287396


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