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Similar but less problematic plants:
Ulmus parvifolia Ulmus parvifolia
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ulmus americana Full Form
Ulmus alata Ulmus alata
Acer saccharinum From
Ulmus rubra has some common insect problems:
Elm Leafminer
Ulmus rubra has some common disease problems:
Native Elm Bark Beetle
Elm Leafminer

Ulmus rubra

Phonetic Spelling
ULM-us RUBE-ruh
Description

Ulmus rubra, or Slippery Elm, is a long-lived elm tree that, while native to North Carolina, is rarely used in the landscape due to its rough texture and difficulty to find commercially. In nature, it can be found in wooded areas with moist to fairly dry calcareous soils and in cove forests in the low mountains containing soils rich in organic matter, and drier upland soils. It is not often found above 1800 feet elevation. It will tolerate drought and part shade but prefers sun and moist loam or clay loam soils. It can be grown in any soil of moderate quality as long as it is well drained. A moderately fast-growing tree, it can live about 200 years in the wild. It can be weedy and messy due to seed production. The tree can reach a height of 70 feet and its single trunk has a diameter of 2 to 3 feet.

Used in traditional medicine as the moist inner bark is the source of the well-known slippery elm ingredient used in throat lozenges. Native Americans used the bark to quench thirst by chewing the sweet, fibrous inner bark peeled from twigs and branches. The inner bark is slippery, thus its common name.

Diseases, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

Dutch elm disease, a fungal disease spread by beetles, attacks the inner tissue of the tree, resulting in wilting, defoliation and death. Susceptible to other elm diseases including phloem necrosis and wetwood, and various wilts, rots, cankers and leaf spots may also occur. Insects include borers, leaf miner, beetles, mealy bugs, caterpillars and scale.

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

More information on Ulmus.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#red#rich soil#ascending#loamy soil#sun#rough leaves#sunshine#medicinal#deciduous#dry soil#Braham Arboretum#part sun#part shade#neutral ph#rough#shade garden#high maintenance#native fruit tree#bird friendly#food source#red flowers#full sun#messy#shade tree#green#moth larvae#green flowers#winter interest#late winter flowers#food source spring#songbirds#samara#dry soils tolerant#spring fruits#fast growing#rapid#fruit tree#alkaline soil tolerant#fruit#well-drained soil#NC native#weed#shade#winter flowers#tree#early spring flowers#fruits#food source herbage#native#food source hard mast fruit#butterfly larvae#coarse#loamy soils tolerant#small mammals#woody#messy fruits#deciduous tree#loam#flowering tree#small and large mammals#limestone#larval host tree#gray bark#butterfly friendly#alkaline soil#samaras#native tree#winter garden#spring interest#moths#partial sun#weedy#audubon#clay soils tolerant#large shade tree#drought tolerant#larval host plant#native garden#partial shade#Piedmont Mountains FAC#wildlife plant#showy flowers#moist soil#vase-shaped#coastal FAC#large tree#full sunlight#spring flowers
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ulmus
    Species:
    rubra
    Family:
    Ulmaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The moist inner bark is an ingredient used in throat lozenges. Wood is close grained, durable, and heavy and is used for lumber and pulpwood. Native Americans used the bark for canoes in place of birch, for medicinal use, and to quench thirst by chewing the sweep, fibrous inner bark peeled from twigs and branches.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    Central and southern North America - Maine to Florida, west to Texas and North Dakota. throughout Canada and the lower 48 United States.
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds often nest in the thick elm foliage, and the seeds and buds are food to songbirds, game birds, and squirrels. Deer and rabbits browse on the twigs. This tree is a larval host for butterflies and moths.
    Play Value:
    Shade
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Oval
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • 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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a flat, 1-seeded samara. Not-showy. In North Carolina, fruits are available from March to May.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Winter
    Flower Description:
    Greenish-red flowers form in dense clusters of 5 to 20 flowers up to 1" across on short stems. In North Carolina, flowers are available from February to April.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Serrate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Four to eight inch long broad, rounded, green leaves with an offset base, 2 to 3 inches wide with a rough texture due to minute hairs. The lower leaf surface is whitish-green and more or less covered with short pubescence. The white ribs of the veins are very prominent along the lower surface. The fall color is dull yellow.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Description:
    Trunk bark is predominantly gray, consisting of narrow flat ridges and shallow furrows; inner bark is more reddish-brown, as revealed by some of the furrows. Has downy twigs and slimy red inner bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Branches are ascending to widely spreading, becoming subdivided into numerous twigs. The bark of branches and older twigs are more smooth and gray to reddish-brown, while the bark of young twigs is grey, rough, and hairy. Buds are black.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Drought
    Pollution
    Problems:
    Messy
    Weedy