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Winged Elm Ulmus alata

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ULM-us a-LAY-tuh
Description

Winged Elm is a deciduous tree that may grow 40 to 60 feet tall. In nature, it can be found in rock outcrops, dry wooded areas, fields, and disturbed areas. The leaves are alternate with a doubly toothed margin and unequal base. In fall, the leaves turn yellow. The bark is red-brown to ashy gray with flat-topped ridges that are separated by irregular fissures. In late winter, small red flowers mature in clusters. The tree produces a 1/4- to 1/2-inch flattened samara with a hairy margin.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

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

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Insect problems include beetles, borers, caterpillars, leaf miners, and scale. Particularly susceptible to Dutch Elm disease, powdery mildew,  phloem necrosis, cankers, and leaf spots can be problems, especially on stressed trees.

 VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Lace Parasol'
'Lace Parasol'
Tags:
#slow growing#rich soil#Piedmont Mountains FACU#open#loamy soil#sun#drupes#old fields#wet soils tolerant#rough leaves#moth#small flowers#sunshine#fields#deciduous#dry soil#forests#Braham Arboretum#part sun#part shade#rough#shade garden#black fruits#low maintenance#fall color yellow#food source#bird friendly#full sun#food source hard-mast fruit#organic soils#shade tree#faculative upland#green#moth larvae#Coastal FACU#green flowers#low flammability#yellow#winter interest#late winter flowers#food source spring#piedmont#dry soils tolerant#dark green#wet sites#well-drained soil#fruit#NC native#shade#fantz#winter flowers#tree#early spring flowers#fruits#green leaves#woodland#food source herbage#native#drupe#brown flowers#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#FACU#deer resistant#butterfly larvae#fall color#exfoliating#loamy soils tolerant#small mammals#air pollution tolerant#woody#deciduous tree#coastal#loam#flowering tree#clusters#small and large mammals#larval host tree#small tree#gray bark#fire resistant#butterfly friendly#native tree#exfoliating bark#winter garden#spring interest#fall color bronze#moths#partial sun#rounded#heat tolerant#mountains#audubon#large shade tree#red-brown#larval host plant#native garden#partial shade#wildlife plant#showy flowers#forest#moist soil#disturbed areas#large tree#winged fruits#spring flowers
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Lace Parasol'
'Lace Parasol'
Tags:
#slow growing#rich soil#Piedmont Mountains FACU#open#loamy soil#sun#drupes#old fields#wet soils tolerant#rough leaves#moth#small flowers#sunshine#fields#deciduous#dry soil#forests#Braham Arboretum#part sun#part shade#rough#shade garden#black fruits#low maintenance#fall color yellow#food source#bird friendly#full sun#food source hard-mast fruit#organic soils#shade tree#faculative upland#green#moth larvae#Coastal FACU#green flowers#low flammability#yellow#winter interest#late winter flowers#food source spring#piedmont#dry soils tolerant#dark green#wet sites#well-drained soil#fruit#NC native#shade#fantz#winter flowers#tree#early spring flowers#fruits#green leaves#woodland#food source herbage#native#drupe#brown flowers#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#FACU#deer resistant#butterfly larvae#fall color#exfoliating#loamy soils tolerant#small mammals#air pollution tolerant#woody#deciduous tree#coastal#loam#flowering tree#clusters#small and large mammals#larval host tree#small tree#gray bark#fire resistant#butterfly friendly#native tree#exfoliating bark#winter garden#spring interest#fall color bronze#moths#partial sun#rounded#heat tolerant#mountains#audubon#large shade tree#red-brown#larval host plant#native garden#partial shade#wildlife plant#showy flowers#forest#moist soil#disturbed areas#large tree#winged fruits#spring flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ulmus
    Species:
    alata
    Family:
    Ulmaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central North America
    Distribution:
    Southeastern U.S.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for butterflies and moths including the Painted Lady, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, and Red Spotted Purple butterflies.   The seeds are eaten by songbirds and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire and moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Small drupe but very distinctive, 1/2 inch long, covered with warty to long projections. The seeds mature in April-May as the leaves reach full size. In North Carolina, fruits are available from March to April.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Insignificant, small, brownish-green flowers appear in clusters in late winter to early spring before the foliage emerges. The flower is typically very small with curling fuzzy stigmas. In North Carolina, flowers are available from February to March.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Dentate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    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.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Fissured
    Shredding
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    The bark is red-brown to ashy gray with flat topped ridges that are separated by irregular fissures. Scaly, shredding, patchy and grayish-brown, some reddish where bark exfoliates.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Corky Ridges
    Stem Description:
    Stems usually have two wide corky ridges or wings.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Wet Soil