Ulmaceae (elm family) Ulmus

Ulmus parvifolia Chinese elm

China, Korea, Japan
Ulmus parvifolia branchlet. John Rawlings, c 2005

A widely used shady tree with attractively blotchy bark in browns and grays and, in freshly peeled areas, orange. Unlike other elms on campus, it does not generally lose its leaves in winter. It flowers in winter and the following fall the seeds, which are rafted in the center of papery ovals about ⅓ inch across, pile up in wind drifts. See Chinese elms between the Post Office and Bookstore, and in great planters along the front and back of the hospital. A fantastically shaped, fully deciduous individual is at 926 Cottrell Way.

The papery winged seeds come down in the fall and rustle about White Plaza as a rather benign litter. However, the squirrels like to eat the seeds while they are still on the tree, and in November the quantity of rubbish that rains down, including twigs, branchlets, and leaves, is impressive. At such times the Tresidder Union patio may look as though a tornado has passed through.

Illustrations: habit (foreground) | branchlet | fruit.

Name derivation: Ulmus – classical Latin name for the elm.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.