Slippery Elm

Ulmus rubra

Family Ulmaceae

Notable Features
Leaves: Alternate leaves ovate*, with an asymmetrical base and a pointed tip; double toothed*. The top of the leaf is rough and sandpapery to the touch, and the bottom is covered in a layer of fine hair; 7-16 inches (12½ to 20 centimeters).
Twigs/Buds: Twigs are rough, hairy and gray. Buds* usually exceed 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) and are red, hairy, and pointed.
Bark: Bark is dark gray and full of dark, vertical ridges. The inner bark, just below the surface of the rough outer bark, is spongy and somewhat slimy. Outer bark is thin, alternating layers of red and white coloring, as opposed to the Americal Elm, which is only reddish in color.
Fruit: Small, wafer-like fruits (1.3 cm diameter) appear May through June and contain a small, circular, flattened, dark seed. Hairy on the center of the fruit, on both sides; appear in small, loose clusters.
Size/Shape: A small or medium-sized tree, the slippery elm exists with a single or double trunk; up to 60 feet (18 meters) in height.

Location on Campus

(click for map)

There is at least one specimen (albiet a small one) growing in the Sachar Woods. Additionally, there are a cluster of three growing together in the middle of the Chapel's Field wetland.

The spongy inner bark can be used to steep an excellent tea, or can be dried and used as a flour.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.