According to the USDA, the interlocked grain of elm wood makes it very hard and resistant to splitting, which makes it ideal for items like hockey sticks or wherever bending is needed. It is one of the woods recommended to use in making bows for archery. The wood is mostly used for its hardness in furniture or construction, or occasionally as a veneer.
The American Elm was once much more common in North America (giving so many towns their “Elm Street”) but from the 1930’s onward, a fungal plague known as the “Dutch Elm Disease” carried by the bark beetle decimated the population.
New Haven, Connecticut (the home of this tree) gained its moniker “the Elm City” from its public tree planting program. The USDA says, “The American elm was prized for its use as a street tree. It was fast growing, hardy, tolerant to stress, and appreciated for its characteristic vaselike crown. Beautiful shaded streets in many cities attested to its popularity.”
The samaras and seeds are edible by humans and are also fed upon by “mice, squirrels, opossum, ruffed grouse, Northern bobwhite, and Hungarian partridge” (USDA).