Arkansas Tree Database

Slippery Elm, Red Elm

Slippery Elm, Red Elm

Scientific name:

Ulmus Rubra


up to 70'-80' tall by 40' wide


alternate, simple, 4"-6" long, unsymmetrical at base, double-toothed, pointed at the tip; dull dark green and sand-papery above, rough beneath


small cluster, inconspicuous


rounded, wafer-shaped, called a samara

Fall Interest:

occasionally yellow; deciduous


sun to light shade; rich, moist soil but adaptable


Dutch elm disease, a fungus introduced about 1930 and spread by elm bark beetles


useful as shade tree but not as attractive as American elm



bark thick, dark reddish brown, with shallow furrows and broad nearly parallel ridges, with only reddish-brown layers; inner bark aromatic, mucilaginous when moistened, and sticky, and was used by Native Americans to quench thirst by chewing and as a tea to treat fevers, inflammations, wounds, sore throat; larval host for butterflies; native to Arkansas


Click thumbnail to enlarge images

Slippery elm bark on trunk Slippery elm leaves, showing rough surface and doubly toothed margins Slippery elm leaf surface and margin Slippery elm leaf tip Slippery elm leaf, underside, showing forked veins Slippery elm leaf, upper surface sand-papery Slippery elm twig with buds Slippery elm twig with buds Slippery elm twig Slippery elm twig