Wych Elm

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
Have you ever seen such a beautiful sight? If you answer that question with a yes, but you haven’t made it to the cross-section between Sachem and Prospect street, then you are lying. You will not see true beauty until you reach Ingalls rink. There lies, Petunia. This Wych Elm can be found outside "The Whale", a hockey rink located in New Haven, Connecticut. It thus can be referred to as the Guardian of the Whale, overlooking this ice rink's parking lot as well as the food trucks camped outside of Sachem St. The Wych Elm is a rather rare sight as it has been decimated by Dutch Elm Disease, a fungal disease that plagues elms since it arrived in the UK in the 1960s [1]. This tree can grow to a height of 30m [1] but currently stands at a small 2.5m. Make sure to swing by and take a look at it!
Vanessa Nunez, Esther Lee, Cole Mersereau
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
2.50 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.26 m

The bark of the tree is ridged and displays grey, dark brown, and slight green coloring along the crease of the bark.
Twigs & branches
The branches of the tree elongate mainly horizontally to display a broad weeping/spreading form. The twigs are dark gray and covered in coarse hairs.
The arrangement of leaves on the tree is alternate, meaning that you will find the leaves and buds to have alternating spacing along the axis of the stem [2]. The leaves have a pinnate venation system meaning that there is a prominent vein that runs from the base of the leaf to the apex. In autumn, they change from dark green to yellow.
Reproductive Structures
Flowers of the Wych Elm are purplish-red and in bunches of 10 to 20, along the twigs [2]. The flowers grow during early spring before the arrival of leaves to help with pollination by the wind. Both male and female reproductive parts are contained within every flower, therefore they are perfect flowers or hermaphrodites [2].
The fruits of the Wych Elm are small and winged and contain a single seed in the center and are known as samaras [2,3]. They arise from flowers that are pollinated by the wind. The seed is then dispersed by wind easily due to its wing structures. Initially the fruits are green but turn brown when they ripen in late May or early June [2].
  • Wych Tree in February
  • Wych Tree in April
Natural range of distribution: 
The Wych elm is found on hilly or rocky woodlands, or bedside streams and ditches [3]. It tends to grow on rich and moist soil. It can be best described as a European temperate species that thrives in cool and humid oceanic summers [4].
Origin, history, and uses: 

Origin and History: The Wych Elm is present in much of Europe, but is generally found in the northern regions [4]. The Wych elm is the only elm that is considered to be native to the UK [3]. Thus, this particular Wych elm has been imported from Europe.

Uses: The Wych Elm has a variety of uses. Its seeds can serve as food for birds and its leaves are a food source for caterpillars. The caterpillar of the white-letter hairstreak butterfly feed on elms and the species has declined itself since the decline of the Wych elm [3]. Around 40 dead wood-feeding species of fungi have been found on Wych Elm most notably the Ophiostoma ulmi (f and Ophiostoma novo-ulmi, which cause Dutch elm disease [5]. 

The wood of the Wych elm is quite strong and has a twisted grain that is tight and resistant to water, can also be easily split. It can be used for building things such as furniture, floorboards, and water pipes, along with decorative things [3]

The flowers open starting at the top towards the bottom before leaves from mid-January through early April [4]. The maturation of seeds happens within 3 weeks of the flowers opening. They shed during April to July. This sometimes happen before leaves appear. In late April, leaves appear and fully expand by early June, continue developing through summer [4]. The flower buds start forming at the end of June into early July leaves fall in September to November [4].
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