Scotch Elm – Ulmus glabra

Scotch Elm – Ulmus glabra
Family Ulmaceae – Zelkova, Hackberry, Elm

Scotch elm is a native of Europe and is planted for ornamental purposes.

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Scotch Elm bark

Scotch elm is a native of Europe and planted for ornamental purposes. The standard tree has a broad crown with upright branches. One cultivar, the ‘Camperdown' elm, is commonly planted for its weeping habit and is often budded on a Siberian elm understock. European elms are sensitive to Dutch elm disease and elm yellows, as are the American elms.

Terminal buds are absent. Buds are imbricate and 1/4 inch (6 mm) long. Branches are reddish-brown in color and hairy when young. Bark on the main stem and branches is prominently smooth and without scales or corky ridges.

Leaves are short-petioled, 31/4—61/2 inches (81/2—161/2 cm) long, and nearly as wide. Leaves are broadest above the middle, rough to the touch above, and pubescent beneath. Foliage is abruptly pointed and tends to develop three points instead of one. Leaves are dark green in color and tend to persist into late fall. [3]

Scotch Elm
Scotch Elm in summer  [1]

"Trees , to 40 m; trunks often multiple; crowns spreading, broadly rounded or ovate. Bark gray, smooth, furrowed with age. Wood hard. Branches spreading to pendulous, glabrous, branchlets lacking corky wings; twigs ash-gray to red-brown, villous when young. Buds obtuse; scales reddish brown, glabrous to marginally white-ciliate. Leaves: petiole 2-7 mm, densely villous. Leaf blade elliptic to obovate, (4-)7-14(-16) × (3-)4.5-8(-10) cm, base strongly oblique with lowermost lobe strongly overlapping, covering petiole, margins doubly serrate, apex long-acuminate to cuspidate, sometimes with 3 acuminate lobes at broad apex; surfaces abaxially pale green, villous with woolly tufts in vein axils, adaxially dark green, strigose to scabrous, margins not ciliate.

Scotch Elm Foliage
Scotch Elm in summer. Leaf blade bulges at one side at the base.


  1. Scotch Elm, Morton Arboretum accession 591-54*1, photos by Bruce Marlin
  2. The Morton Arboretum, Arboretum Records Honor, Milestone; Looks to Future
  3. Ohio State University, Ohio Trees, Bulletin 700-00 "Ulmus – Elm" Key to Ulmus Species
  4. Flora of North America @, "Ulmus glabra – Scotch elm, wych elm, broad-leaved elm"
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Family Ulmaceae – Zelkovas, Hackberries and Elms
There are about 200 species of trees and shrubs in Ulmaceae. Elms fell victim to Dutch Elm disease during the 1950s; until that time, they were the premier shade tree along the streets of our American towns and cities. The Morton Arboretum in past years has bred and marketed five new elm varieties resistant to Dutch elm disease.
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