Elm trees in Jesmond Vale

English Elm (Ulmus minor var. vulgaris)

After the ravages of Dutch elm Disease in the 1960’s, Elms seem to be staging a recovery, some growing into substantial trees as above. They may still succumb to a re-emergence of the disease but are growing in several areas in the vale.

English elm bark

The bark still shows pale brown ridges of a tree yet to mature.

Elm leaves are rough and hairy with characteristic asymmetric shape

This subspecies was susceptible to DED because they are mostly genetically identical and seldom spread by seed. They spread by suckers into scrubby clumps.

The suckers have been incorporated into a hedge.

A comparison of leaves shows the size difference between species and varieties.

Wych elm (Ulmus glabra) on the left. English Elm in the middle and smooth leaved elm Ulmus minor on the right.
Smooth – leaved Elm bark

Ulmus minor var minor has a marked asymmetric leaf base with a narrow taper on the short side. Smooth – leaved elm is found in parks and hedgerows being more resistant to DED since it does reproduce from seed. Sometimes called ‘A phoenix from the Ashes’, the leaves are smooth and glossy.

Smooth -leaved elm (Ulmus minor var minor)
Wych Elm (ulmus glabra)

Wych Elm is common throughout the Dene and thought to be a native. Most are rather scrubby but some are growing into modest trees.

Reference: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/pest-and-disease-resources/dutch-elm-disease/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/field-elm/

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/english-elm/

Collins Tree Guide 2006

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