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Slippery Elm

Ulmus fulva Michx.

Slippery elm
Figure 96.—Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva)
Other common names.—Moose elm, red elm, Indian elm, rock elm, sweet elm.

Habitat and range.—This tree is native in woods, along streams, and on hills from Quebec to North Dakota and south to Florida and Texas. It is more common in the western part of its range.

Description.—The usual height of the slippery elm is from 40 to 50 feet, with a trunk about 2 1/2 feet in diameter. In open woods and fields it is spreading and irregular in growth, but in dense woods it grows tall and straight, branching some distance from the ground. The bark is very rough, even the small branches are rough, and the twigs are furnished with rough hairs. The rather large leaves, which are from 4 to 8 inches long, are supported by short, downy stalks. The small, bell-shaped flowers appear in dense clusters in early spring, before the leaves, and are followed by flattened and circular winged fruits. Each fruit consists of a single seed surrounded by a thin, winged margin, which aids its dispersion by the wind.

Part used.—The inner bark. The whole bark is shaved from the tree, and after the outer bark is removed the inner portion is dried usually under pressure so that it will remain flat.

Sievers, A.F. 1930. The Herb Hunters Guide. Misc. Publ. No. 77. USDA, Washington DC.
Last update Friday, April 3, 1998 by aw