Ulmus rubra: red elm or slippery elm

Family: Ulmaceae, in rosoid group [or urticalean subgroup].

Form: medium-sized tree, often 40-60 feet but rarely more than 100 feet;
also spreads laterally from root-suckers, which can persist in shade.

Range: widespread across eastern states (+ Ontario), except on the southeastern Coastal Plain. (Often confused in id. with americana.)

Habitat: in various types of woods on base-rich soils, especially with moist (mesic) conditions, avoiding wet or dry extremes; much reduced in farmland by browsing and rooting of livestock; moderately shade tolerant.

Consumers: young shoots and leaves browsed by mammalian herbivores, also roots perhaps eaten formerly by free-ranging pigs. Even human have eaten the mucilaginous inner bark or powdered dried leaves. Dutch Elm Disease can infect trees, but mortality is much less than in americana.

Growing notes: seeds mostly need overwintering to germinate; seedlings, saplings and root cuttings are easily transplanted.

Red elm leaves
Red elm leaves. Image: https://www.carolinanature.com/trees/ulru.html


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