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Vascular Plants of California
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Ulmus pumila


Higher Taxonomy
Family: UlmaceaeView Description 
Common Name: ELM FAMILY
Habit: Tree. Leaf: simple, alternate, 2-ranked; veins pinnate; stipules deciduous. Flower: radial; sepals 4--9, free to fused; corolla 0; stamens 4--9, opposite sepals; ovary superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, style branches 2. Fruit: 2-winged nutlet.
Genera In Family: 7 genera, +- 60 species: temperate to tropics; some cultivated for ornament (Ulmus, Zelkova), used for wood (especially Ulmus). Note: Celtis moved to Cannabaceae.
eFlora Treatment Author: Alan T. Whittemore
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: UlmusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: ELM
Habit: Deciduous. Leaf: serrate (or doubly so), base generally oblique, 2° veins straight, parallel, extending to margin, each ending in a tooth; axils of 2° veins generally with prominent tufts of hairs. Inflorescence: umbels or short racemes in leaf axils on old wood; flowers sessile or pedicels 7--17 mm. Flower: bisexual; calyx generally bell-shaped, lobes 4--9; stamens 4--9, exserted; ovary strongly compressed; style divided to base, branches spreading.
Note: Widely cultivated as street trees; flowers, fruit needed for identification.
Ulmus pumila L.
Habit: To 25 m; bark deeply ridged, remaining firmly attached, medium gray. Stem: corky outgrowths on branches 0; winter buds dark brown or red-brown, +- spheric to ovoid; inner bud scale margins generally white ciliate. Leaf: 2--8 cm, 1.2--3.5 cm wide, ovate- to lance-elliptic, acute or short-acuminate (acuminate), margins simply or doubly serrate, abaxial surface glabrous or pubescent only on major veins and tufted in vein axils. Inflorescence: flower, fruit before leaves in spring; pedicel +- 0. Fruit: 1--2 cm, 1--1.5 cm wide, +- round (broadly obovate or elliptic), +- white-tan, glabrous except for pubescence on stigmatic surface in notch.
Ecology: Streambanks, washes, bottomland, roadsides, disturbed areas; Elevation: 20--1500 m. Bioregional Distribution: SN, SW, GB; Distribution Outside California: native to northern Asia. Flowering Time: Mar--Apr
Jepson eFlora Author: Alan T. Whittemore
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Ulmus parvifolia
Next taxon: Urticaceae

Botanical illustration including Ulmus pumilabotanical illustration including Ulmus pumila

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Citation for this treatment: Alan T. Whittemore 2012, Ulmus pumila, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 23, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 23, 2024.

Ulmus pumila
click for image enlargement
©2015 Steve Matson
Ulmus pumila
click for image enlargement
©2015 Steve Matson
Ulmus pumila
click for image enlargement
©2015 Steve Matson
Ulmus pumila
click for image enlargement
©2015 Steve Matson

More photos of Ulmus pumila
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Ulmus pumila:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1

(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).