Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Slippery Elm  
Ulmus rubra

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, doubly serrate, ovate, very rough, and up to 7 inches long with an unequal leaf base. Twigs are mucilaginous (slippery) with red-brown hairs and black-red striped, maroon-hairy, ovoid buds.  Bark is red-brown with interlacing ridges and brown inner bark.  Fruit is a round, slightly notched samara without hair. Form is up to 21 m (70 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter with a vase shape. Slippery elm is found on a variety of sites in the east and central U.S. and is tolerant of shade.  The wood is used for boxes, pallets and furniture.  The inner bark is used in home remedies (throat lozenges) and reported to ease thirst when chewed. 

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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