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Slippery Elm

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The Slippery Elm tree, 'Ulmus rubra', is also known as Red Elm.  It is a medium-sized tree that prefers moist soils. The leaves are large and very rough to the touch.


It is distinguishable from other elms by its red, hairy buds and its rough, hairy twigs.  The buds are covered with rusty red hairs and the wood is red to dark brown, hence the Latin name rubra, meaning red.


The bark is deeply furrowed and brownish red.  The inner bark is stringy, and slimy or slippery, hence the common name Slippery elm.  


The red, brown, or orange branches grow downward.   The flowers are arranged in dense clusters and have no stalks.  The plant's leaves are long and green, and they darken in color during the fall.  The bark has deep fissures, a gummy texture, and a slight but distinct odor.


 Slippery elm can persist on poorly drained soils and occasional flooding.  It grows best on moist, rich soils of lower slopes, stream banks, river terraces, and bottom lands.


 It is less susceptible to Dutch elm disease than many elms, and has a different branching pattern.  The inner bark was historically used for medicinal purposes, and is still used in the preparation of some throat lozenges.


* Branches downward


* Flowers in dense clusters


* Likes moist soil

 

Plant Facts

Family Ulmus rubra
Foliage Green
Mature Height 40 - 60 feet
Mature Spread 25 - 35 feet
Soil Widely Adaptable
Zones 3-9
Mature Form Upright
Growth Rate Fast
Sun Exposure Full Sun - Partial Sun
Fall Color Yellow

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9910 N. 48th Street, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68152

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