Ulmus parvifolia

Ulmus parvifolia, commonly known as the Chinese elm[2] or lacebark elm, is a species native to eastern Asia, including China, India, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.[3] It has been described as “one of the most splendid elms, having the poise of a graceful Nothofagus”.[4]

The tree was introduced to the UK in 1794 by James Main, who collected in China for Gilbert Slater of Low Layton, Essex


A small to medium deciduous or semideciduous (rarely semievergreen) tree, it grows to 10–18 m (33–59 ft) tall and 15–20 m (49–66 ft) wide with a slender trunk and crown. The leathery, lustrous green, single-toothed leaves are small, 2–5 cm long by 1–3 cm broad, and often retained as late as December or even January in Europe and North America. The apetalous wind-pollinated perfect flowers are produced in early autumn, small and inconspicuous. The fruit is a samara, elliptical to ovate-elliptical, 10–13 mm long by 6–8 mm broad.[3] The samara is mostly glabrous, the seed at the centre or toward the apex, is borne on a stalk 1–3 mm in length; it matures rapidly and disperses by late autumn. The trunk has a handsome, flaking bark of mottled greys with tans and reds, giving rise to its other common name, the lacebark elm, although scarring from major branch loss can lead to large, canker-like wounds