winged elm
Ulmus alata Michx.
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple, short-petiolate, 1.5-3.5" long by 1-1.5” wide; blades lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, tips acute, bases equilateral to sometimes slightly inequilateral; margins doubly serrate; upper surfaces dark green and smooth, lower surfaces paler and duller, softly short-pubescent on the principal veins
  • FLOWER: perfect (bisexual), tiny, lacking petals, reddish, in pendulous racemes, appearing in winter well before leaves emerge
  • FRUIT: samara noticeably stipitate, with wing surrounding the seed bearing portion; elliptic to narrowly ovate and about 0.2” long, the wing notched at the apex and wing margin ciliate; samaras mature when leaves are emerging or just before
  • TWIGS: slender, those of the season gray-brown to red-brown, glabrous, exhibiting a zigzag pattern; terminal buds absent, lateral buds ca. 0.13" and pointed, reddish-brown; second-year and older twigs may possess two corky wings up to ca. 0.75” broad, the wings often becoming irregular with age as portions slough off; corky wings can be totally absent for a given tree, but are usually found on some trees at a given locality
  • BARK: brownish-gray, with irregular flat ridges
  • FORM: medium sized tree, to ca. 60-70’ tall and 1-2’ dbh; crown rounded when open-grown
  • HABITAT: widespread and common in various well-drained forest types, can be found on wetter sites that experience only short-term flooding
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: :of minor importance for timber, lumped with other elms, woody used for boxes, furniture, crates, flooring, hockey sticks (wood of this and American elm is resistant to splitting); ornamental; like other native elms, susceptible to Dutch elm disease
  • WILDLIFE: high-value whitetail deer browse; mast eaten by various birds
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. leaves alternate, elm-like and relatively small and slender, margins doubly serrate
    2. twigs often corky-winged
    3. fruiting in late winter, samaras small and slender, tips notched, margins ciliate