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WYCH ELM

Ulmus glabra

Elm Family [Ulmaceae]

month8apr month8april month8may

category
category8Trees
category
category8Deciduous
category
category8Broadleaf
status
statusZnative
flower
flower8purple
inner
inner8yellow
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZbisexual
sex
sexZmale
sex
sexZfemale

31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Deciduous tree to 38m


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
A rather open structure.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Fruits papery-thin, up to 2cm long and longer than wide (English Elm fruits c.1.5cm and rounder).


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Fruits are ripe (brownish splodge in middle (those on English Elm are rarely ripe).


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Fruits have a slight notch at the end.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Fruits on short stalks.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves lop-sided with longer side extending below the junction with the leaf-stalk (petiole) and touching the branch it branches off from (unlike leaves of English Elm).


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Leaves more pointed and more oval than those the rounder leaves of English Elm.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Obverse of leaf, ribs and veins prominent. Teeth irregular.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Short leaf-like stipules at every leaf junction.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Bark greyish and smooth in young trees, becoming browner with deep mainly vertical cracks in older age.


31st May 2013, The Straight Mile, Burnley, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD


Not to be semantically confused with : Witch-Hazel nor with Chinese Witch-Hazel [trees with similar names] or Witch's Broom [a gall on a tree].

Easily mistaken for the tree : English Elm (Ulmus procera), see captions above for differences.

There is a sub-species : Ulmus glabra ssp. montana (also called Wych Elm) which, sparse before Dutch Elm disease came to UK shores in the 1970's, seems to have since been decimated.

It is polygamous, having both male, female and bisexual flowers on the same plant. Elm trees are distinguished from other trees by the thin flattish papery fruits with a small central bulge.

 Dutch Elm Disease
Like English Elm, Wych Elm is susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease (DED), which is a sac fungal infection spread by the elm bark beetle, so there are now many fewer of them, and unlike English Elm it does not spread by suckering.

Elm bark beetles feed on the xylem tissues beneath the bark, which eventually peels off leaving radial grooves in the tissue visible; the feeding galleries of the Elm Bark Beetle (Scotylus schevyrewi). After infection by the fungus the tree responds by producing a gum to plug the breaches in the xylem, which transports nutrients and water up to the top of the tree. Being now starved of this fluid the leaves on the upper branches of the trees start to wither and turn yellow in summer, and then shed months before the normal autumn leaf-fall. The rest of the tree starts to similarly succumb from the top downwards apart from the roots of English Elm which will produce runners in an attempt to escape and propagate, but they too eventually die in 15 years. The tree is dead, but not the fungus which killed it. In England this process occurred in the 1970's, now most of the Elm trees have gone.


  Ulmus glabra  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Ulmaceae  

Distribution
 family8Elm family8Ulmaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Ulmus
Ulmus
(Elms)

WYCH ELM

Ulmus glabra

Elm Family [Ulmaceae]