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Broadleaved Trees of Yosemite National Park (1947) by C. Frank Brockman


AMERICAN ELM

Ulmus americana L. — Elm Family (Ulmaceae)

This is one of the most noble and stately of native American trees. Its natural range includes a large part of the eastern United States and Canada from Newfoundland south to central Florida, and westward to Manitoba and eastern Texas. It is one of the most familiar of trees in the New England states, and it was from that region (Massachusetts) that the seed which was planted by Hutchings was secured. (See page 30).

Since it grows best in rich, moist, alluvial soil in its native habitat, it found in Yosemite Valley a suitable environment. Many of the trees planted here now are quite large and compare favorably with those

Foliage and seeds of American elm (Inch squares on background)
[click to enlarge]
Photo by Brockman

Foliage and seeds of American elm (Inch squares on background)
in the east. Local elms are one and one-half to two and one-half feet in diameter and from fifty to seventy-five feet tall. The trunk, characterized by dark, ash-gray bark, divided into numerous flaky ridges, separate: into several large branches, ten to fifteen feet above the ground, to form a tall, graceful, vase-like crown. The flowers are produced in abundance in loose clusters, usually early in May, and the seeds are fully ripened before the leaves are completely formed. The seeds are small, flat, and completely surrounded by a thin, papery wing—seed and wing being about one-half to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. In the late spring they are found in great abundance on the ground in the vicinity of these trees.

The deep green leaves are alternate on the branches, oblong in outline (about three to five inches long and one to five inches wide), tapering to a point at the apex. They appear lopsided due to the inequilateral nature of the base and are coarsely and doubly toothed along the margins. Prominent veins extend from mid-rib to the leaf margin. Their upper surface is coarse and rough to the touch, while underneath they are smooth but slightly hairy.

Yosemite Chapel in Old Village. Location of numerous introduced trees.
[click to enlarge]
Photo by Ansel Adams

Yosemite Chapel in Old Village. Location of numerous introduced trees.


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