American elm Ulmus americana, photographed by Steven J. Baskauf.

Belongs within: Rosales.

The Ulmaceae, elms, are a family of wind-pollinated trees and shrubs most diverse in northern temperate regions. Species of the genus Ulmus are widespread in Eurasia and North America, and have been introduced into other parts of the world as ornamental trees. Many members of the family are also used as sources of timber. Potential leaf fossils of the Ulmaceae have been identified from the Upper Cretaceous though unquestioned fruit fossils are not known until the Eocene (Collinson et al. 1993).

Characters (from Sherman-Broyles, Barker & Schulz): Trees or shrubs, deciduous (sometimes tardily deciduous in Ulmus). Bark smooth to deeply fissured or scaly and flaky; sap watery. Leaves alternate (rarely opposite), distichous (or rarely not), simple; stipules present; petiole present. Leaf blade: base often oblique, margins entire or serrate, crenate, or toothed; venation pinnate to palmate-pinnate. Inflorescences axillary, cymes, racemes, fascicles, or flowers solitary, arising from branchlets of previous season or of current season. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, staminate and pistillate on same (rarely different) plants; sepals persistent, (1-)5(-9), connate (rarely distinct), imbricate or valvate; petals absent; stamens usually as many as calyx lobes, hypogynous, opposite calyx lobes, erect in bud; filaments free or arising from calyx tube, distinct, curved or sigmoid in bud; anthers 2-locular, dehiscence longitudinal; pistils 1, 2(-3)-carpellate; ovary 1(-2)-locular; ovules 1 per locule, pendulous from apex of locule, anatropous or amphitropous; styles (1-)2, distinct, receptive stigmatic area decurrent on distal inner margin of style branch. Fruits fleshy drupes, samaras, or nutlike. Seeds 1; arils absent; endosperm absent to scanty, consisting of 1 layer of thick-walled cells; embryo straight or curved.

<==Ulmaceae [Ulmeae]
    |--Holoptelea integrifolia P03
    |--Celtidophyllum praeaustrale Krasser 1911 CBH93
    |--Cedrelospermum CBH93
    |--Triorites CBH93
    |    |--T. africaensis VH02
    |    `--T. minutipora Muller 1968 CBH93
    |--Planera S77
    |--Phyllostylon S77
    `--Ulmus Linné 1754 S77
         |--U. americana SK03
         |--U. chinensis OM09
         |--U. davidiana T03
         |--U. glabra R-CT01
         |--U. × hollandica H93
         |--U. lanceaefolia Roxb. ex Wall. 1831 S77
         |--U. major C55
         |--U. minor [incl. U. procera] H93
         |--U. nigra RS03
         |--U. parvifolia LO98
         |--U. pumila R70
         `--U. rubra B75

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B75] Bowles, J. B. 1975. Distribution and biogeography of mammals of Iowa. Special Publications, The Museum, Texas Tech University 9: 1–184.

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[CBH93] Collinson, M. E., M. C. Boulter & P. L. Holmes. 1993. Magnoliophyta (‘Angiospermae’). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 809–841. Chapman & Hall: London.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[LO98] Lack, H. W., & H. Ohba. 1998. Die Xylothek des Chikusai Kato. Willdenowia 28: 263–276.

[OM09] Olson, K. A., T. Mueller, S. Bolortsetseg, P. Leimgruber, W. F. Fagan & T. K. Fuller. 2009. A mega-herd of more than 200,000 Mongolian gazelles Procapra gutturosa: a consequence of habitat quality. Oryx 43 (1): 149–153.

[P03] Paul, T. K. 2003. Botanical observations on the Purulia pumped storage hydropower project area, Bagmundi Hills, Purulia district, West Bengal. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 121–142.

[R-CT01] Ragusa-di Chiara, S., & H. Tsolakis. 2001. Phytoseiid faunas of natural and agricultural ecosystems in Sicily. In: Halliday, R. B., D. E. Walter, H. C. Proctor, R. A. Norton & M. J. Colloff (eds) Acarology: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress pp. 522–529. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

[R70] Rising, J. D. 1970. Morphological variation and evolution in some North American orioles. Systematic Zoology 19 (4): 315–351.

[RS03] Rivas, R., M. Sánchez, M. E. Trujillo, J. L. Zurdo-Piñeiro, P. F. Mateos, E. Martínez-Molina & E. Velázquez. 2003. Xylanimonas cellulosilytica gen. nov., sp. nov., a xylanolytic bacterium isolated from a decayed tree (Ulmus nigra). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 53: 99–103.

[SK03] Snell, K. L., & H. W. Keller. 2003. Vertical distribution and assemblages of corticolous myxomycetes on five tree species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mycologia 95 (4): 565–576.

[S77] Soepadmo, E. 1977. Ulmaceae. Flora Malesiana, Series I—Spermatophyta, Flowering Plants 8 (2): 31–76.

[T03] Tsurusaki, N. 2003. Phenology and biology of harvestmen in and near Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, with some taxonomical notes on Nelima suzukii n. sp. and allies (Arachnida: Opiliones). Acta Arachnologica 52: 5–24.

[VH02] Vallejo, C., P. A. Hochuli, W. Winkler & K. von Salis. 2002. Palynological and sequence stratigraphic analysis of the Napo Group in the Pungarayacu 30 well, sub-Andean zone, Ecuador. Cretaceous Research 23: 845–859.

Last updated: 10 May 2021.

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