Look what you will see when you look up... the prettiest red flowers that pop against the blue sky.
|Flower Source: Joseph A Marcus
|Samara Source: Joseph A Marcus
|Source: MTSU Biology Dept
The leaves are small and oval to narrowly elliptical, from 1" to 3½" long with doubly serrated edges.
They are dark green with a smooth upper surface and paler, hairy undersides.
They turn bright yellow in the fall...Aren't they lovely.
|The corky wings are often irregular and may appear as warty growths or knots on one or both sides of the twigs.
|Naturally occurs in southern and south central woodlands
Elms are host plants to over 200 butterfly and moth species (think important bird food) and squirrels and chipmunks eat the nutlets of the samaras. I've never seen this tree offered at a local IGC, but, it can be found at specialty tree farms and orchards (search online).
The tree is often grown in parking lot islands, medium strips, and along residential streets. Winged elm trees tolerate air pollution, poor drainage and compacted soil. Wow. Poor drainage and compacted soil~No wonder it's doing okay at Clay and Limestone.
Botanical name: Ulmus alata
Common Name: Winged Elm, Corked Elm
Native Range: Eastern and central North America
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 25.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: Late February, March to April
Bloom Description: Reddish green
Sun: Full/part sun
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant...lovely against the blue skies of spring
Tolerate: Air Pollution, compacted soil.
Pollination: Wind born
Wildlife value: Numerous insects feed on the foliage, wood, or plant juices of Winged Elm. Check out this insect table to see listed critters.
Common uses: Boxes, baskets, furniture, hockey sticks, veneer, wood pulp, and papermaking.
Trees are so important to a critter friendly native plant garden and this tree provides shade for early blooming spring ephemerals and shade loving wildflowers, while being a host plant to numerous butterfly, moths, beetles and other critters.
My dear readers, don't forget to look up this spring or you might miss the magic that's happening in the canopy.
Welcome to Clay and Limestone and Wildflower Wednesday. This day is about sharing wildflowers and other native plants no matter where one gardens~the UK, tropical Florida, Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, India or the coldest reaches of Canada. It doesn't matter if your WW star of the month is blooming or not, after all it's winter for many of you. It doesn't matter if we sometimes share the same plants; how they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most.
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.