Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Water-Elm
Planera aquatica
Ulmaceae

Leaves are alternate, simple, deciduous, ovate to lanceolate, 3 to 7 cm long, 2 ranked, apex acute, base rounded, margin serrate. Twigs are slender, zig-zag, red-brown, pubescent, with lenticels; leaf scar triangular and minute with three bundle scars. Bark is gray-brown, thin, scaly, shreddy or shaggy, with red inner bark. Flowers are perfect and imperfect, yellow-green or white-green, without petals, from leaf axils in spring with the leaves. Fruit is misshapen, drupe, with fleshy projections, 8 to 13 mm long, maturing in spring. Form is up to 15 m (50 ft) in height with a low crown and a forked, vase-shaped trunk. Water-Elm is an uncommon tree, found in the Coastal Plain in wet areas such as swamps, bottomlands, and stream edges, often associated with Taxodium and Nyssa spp.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: