Red elm (Ulmus rubra)

Red elm leaves

Click on the images help you identify an Red elm.



Large, height 40' to 65', diameter 16" to 24"; main branches frequently extend at right angles to trunk, forming a broad, open, flat-topped head.


Dark reddish brown; broken by shallow fissures into flat ridges; outer bark layers entirely reddish-brown in cross section.


Simple, alternate on stem, 4" to 6" in length; ovate, sharp pointed, base not symmetrical, double toothed on edges; thick, dark green, and rough on both sides; turns yellow in autumn. Winter buds covered by brown, silky hairs.

Fruit (seed)

Samara, 1/2" in diameter; seed surrounded by thin, broad, greenish wings; ripens when leaves are about half grown.


Frequently found throughout the southern half of the state, especially in the Big Woods; less common northward; shade tolerant, fast growing.

Wood uses

Hard, strong, compact; used for furniture, fence posts, railroad ties, shipbuilding, and agricultural implements.

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