Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont

Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White

Ulmus rubra Muhl. Slippery elm, red elm. Synonyms Ulmus fulva Michx. Family Ulmaceae. ITIS Taxonomic Serial Number 19050. USDA PLANTS Symbol ULRU. TROPICOS # 33300072.

Images • Branchlet with leaves. • Individual leaf. • Branchlet with buds. • Close-up of buds. • Branchlet with flowers. • Close-up of fruits. • Herbarium sheet 1. • Herbarium sheet 2. • Herbarium sheet 3.

Detailed Description:

Plant habit and life style. Plants Angiosperms, synoecious, (10–)15–25(–40) m tall.

Stems. Pith continuous. Young twigs (1-year-old or less) brown or gray or green or orange or reddish-brown, pubescent. Twigs (2–4 years old) glabrous or pubescent. Leaf scars crescent-shaped or half-round or triangular, bundle scars 3(–6) per leaf scar, stipule scars present or inconspicuous, stipule scars not circumferential. Bark of mature trunks flaky or furrowed or ridged.

Buds. Buds axillary, black or brown or red or reddish-brown, 5–7 mm long, ovoid, blunt, pubescent, ciliate or puberulent, bud scales imbricate.

Leaves. Leaves deciduous, simple, petiolate, alternate, distichous, 8–16(–20) cm long, 5–7.5(–9) cm wide, obovate or oval or ovate, leaf margins serrate or doubly serrate or ciliate, leaf apices acuminate, leaf bases cordate or cuneate or oblique or rounded. Leaf upper surface green. Leaf lower surface green, pubescent or with tufts in vein axils, tomentose. Leaf venation pinnate. Petioles 0.5–0.9 cm long, pubescent. Stipules present, caducous, scarious, not circumferential.

Flowers. Flowering January or February or March or April. Inflorescences axillary, fascicles, flowers nearly sessile or stalked. Flowers bisexual, hypogynous. Perianth. Calyx asymmetric or radially symmetric, synsepalous. Sepals 5–9 per flower, green or red, sepal margins ciliate, pubescent, persistent. Corolla absent. Androecium. Stamens 5–9 per flower. Gynoecium. Ovaries superior, pistils 1 per flower. Gynoecium syncarpous, 2 carpels per flower, styles 2 per pistil, placentation apical.

Fruits. Fruits samaras, 1–2 cm long, cream or tan or yellow, fruit maturation 1 years.

Habitat. Habitat bottomland forests or dry-mesic upland forests or mesic upland forests or mixed forest edges.

Special Diagnostic Characters. Twigs without corky wings; lateral leaf veins typically straight and parallel to one another; leaf upper surface very scabrous; overall form often "vase-shaped", with the main branches spreading from the tall trunk in a graceful arch; inner bark slippery and mucilaginous.

Cite this publication as: ‘Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White (2005 onwards). Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont: Identification, Descriptions, Illustrations, and Glossary. Version: March 7, 2006. <>’.

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