Please submit a search term.

Ulmus alata

Common Name(s):
Cork elm, Small leaf elm, Wahoo, Winged elm
Native Plants, Trees

Ulmus alata, commonly called winged elm, is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree that typically grows to 30-50’ tall with an open-rounded crown. It is native from Virginia to southern Indiana and Missouri south to Florida and Texas.  The winged elm is in the Ulmaceae family. Its twigs usually have two wide corky ridges or wings (alata is from Latin meaning winged), hence the common name.  The bark is red-brown to ashy gray with flat topped ridges that are separated by irregular fissures.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaves:  Fall                 Blooms:    Late Winter/Early Spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Spring

Wildlife Value:  This tree is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for the Painted Lady, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, and Red Spotted Purple butterflies.   The seeds are eaten by songbirds and small mammals. 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Dutch elm disease, a fatal fungal disease spread by airborne bark beetles, attacks the water-conducting tissue of this tree, resulting in wilting, defoliation and death. Powdery mildew can be a significant problem in some areas, with foliage sometimes acquiring a noticeable white tint by late summer. Phloem necrosis is a disease caused by a phytoplasma that attacks the food-conducting tissue of the tree, usually resulting in a loosening of the bark, wilting, defoliation and death. Wetwood is a bacterial disease that results in wilting and dieback. Various wilts, rots, cankers and leaf spots may also occur. Insect visitors include borers, leaf miner, beetles, mealy bugs, caterpillars and scale.


30-40 ft.
The Winged elm has insignificant, small, brownish-green flowers appear in clusters in late winter to early spring before the foliage emerges. The flowers give way to single-seeded, wafer-like, elliptical samaras (each tiny seed is surrounded by a flattened circular papery wing). The seeds mature in April-May as the leaves reach full size.
Grow the Winged elm in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun for best results. This tree is tolerant of light shade. It prefers rich, moist loams an will adapt to both moist and dry sites. It is generally tolerant of urban conditions. Regular pruning of young trees is often required in order to eliminate multiple trunks.
Medium to fine
Pendulous; rounded top
30-40 ft.
Growth Rate:
The Winged elm has alternate, ovate to elliptic, rough-textured dark green leaves (to 2.5” long) with doubly toothed margins and asymetrical bases. The leaves typically turn an undistinguished dull yellowish green in fall.
butterfly, air pollution, wet soil, deciduous, wet sites, fall color, small tree, shade tree, songbirds, wet

NCCES plant id: 2231

Ulmus alata Ulmus alata
Jay Sturner, CC BY - 2.0
Ulmus alata Leaf detail
Jay Sturner, CC BY - 2.0
Ulmus alata Corky wings on stems
Richard Murphy), CC-BY-SA-3.0