Characteristics of Cherry-bark Elm Tree (Ulmus villosa) In The Wild

Ulmus villosa
Cherry-bark elm or Marn elm (Ulmus villosa) is one of the longest-living Asian elms. This plant is endemic to the Kashmir valleys at an altitude of 1200-2500 m asl but has become increasingly rare due to its popularity as fodder for livestock.

Ulmus villosa was first recognized as a distinct species by Royle in 1839, but he gave no description. Dietrich Brandis gave his report in 1899 under the provisional name Ulmus villosa, which Gamble adopted and approved three years later.

A cherry-bark elm tree that once grew in Kew Gardens, London, reaches a height of 25 meters and is considered very elegant, although it tends to shed shoots after heavy flowering. Now the tree has been cut down after succumbing to Dutch elm disease.

Two other cherry-bark elms planted as part of the British Forestry Commission’s elm trials at Westonbirt Arboretum in the 1970s also died, although the cause of death has not been recorded. The tree was propagated and marketed by the Hillier & Sons, Winchester, Hampshire nursery from 1971 to 1977, with a total sale of 38 pieces.

Cultivation elsewhere in Europe is very few and far between. Rows of more than 20 cherry-bark elm trees survive at Wageningen in the Netherlands, collected by Heybroek in the Himalayas in 1960. Several trees also survive in the Amstelpark area of Amsterdam and the harbor.

Today large cherry-bark elm trees are mostly confined to temples and shrines where they are treated as sacred trees. Some of the surviving ancient cherry-bark elm trees are believed to be over 800 years old.


Characteristics of Cherry-bark Elm Leaf

Ulmus villosa Leaf

Short shoots with up to ten leaves. Leaf leaflets are oval, 6-10 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, taper at the top, rounded to truncated and only slightly tilted at the base, the lower leaves of the shoots are more oval and slightly tapered at the base, the upper surface is glabrous except on the midrib, the lower surface is sprinkled first with reddish glandular hairs, then glabrous or slightly downy on the blades, and usually with white tufts in the axils of the lower veins, the edges are uniform, each large serrated with up to seven minor teeth.


Characteristics of Cherry-bark Elm Flower

Ulmus villosa Flower
Source: Middleton

The flowers appear in spring right on the bare wood, dense clusters, and whitish.


Characteristics of Cherry-bark Elm Fruit

The fruit is round, about 1-1.5 cm in diameter, hairy and ciliated at the edges.


Characteristics of Cherry-bark Elm Tree

Ulmus villosa Tree

Cherry-bark elm can grow to a height of 25-30 meters in its natural habitat, with slightly pendulous branches. The bark is gray and smooth, with horizontal bands of lenticels, becoming coarsely wrinkled as the tree ages.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.