Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Ulmus Parvifolia

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Ulmus parvifolia (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens)

Ulmus parvifolia (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 18m

Eventual Spread:15m

Hardiness: 5b – 10a

Family: Ulmaceae

Ulmus parvifolia is a fast growing, small/ medium sized deciduous/ semi-evergreen tree with a slender/ vase shaped habit. Its mid green glossy leaves are alternate, elliptic with entire margins, up to 5cm long and 3cm broad. Its leaves turn yellow in autumn before they fall. Its flaking bark is grey, tan and red in colour. Its flowers are without petals, are inconspicuous and are wind pollinated.. Its fruit is a flattened sumara, up to 13mm long and 8mm broad.

Ulmus parvifolia Autumn Leaf (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens)

Ulmus parvifolia Autumn Leaf (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens)

Ulmus parvifolia, commonly known as Chinese Elm or Lacebark Elm, is native to China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. This variety of Ulmus is mostly resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. It was introduced into the UK in the late 18th century.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ulmus is from the Latin name for this tree. Parvifolia is derived from the Latin parvus meaning ‘small’ and folium meaning ‘leaf.

The landscape architect may find Ulmus parvifolia useful as an attractive street tree. Once established this tree is drought tolerant. It will tolerate air pollution. It is tolerant of windy coastal conditions.

Ulmus parvifolia Bark (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens)

Ulmus parvifolia Bark (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens)

Ecologically, Ulmus parvifolia seed is attractive to some birds.

Ulmus parvifolia prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Ulmus parvifolia requires little maintenance.

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