Ulmus pumila

Siberian Elm




  • native to eastern Siberia, northern China, Manchuria, and Korea
  • hardy to zone 4
  • Special Note: This species has demonstrated an invasive tendency in Connecticut, meaning it may escape from cultivation and naturalize in minimally managed areas. For more information, .

Habit and Form

  • a large, deciduous tree
  • irregular growth habit
  • 50' to 70' tall and about the same in width
  • tree contains numerous small, flexible, pendulous branches
  • fine texture
  • fast growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • 0.75" to 3" long
  • 0.33" to 1" wide
  • oblique leaf base
  • serrate leaf margins
  • young leaves have pubescent underside
  • short, pubescent petioles
  • dark green leaf color
  • no terminal bud
  • lateral buds are globose
  • black hairs on bud scales

Autumn Foliage

  • turns yellowish-brown
  • not ornamentally important


  • not of any ornamental value


  • rounded samaras
  • deeply notched at tip
  • greenish in color
  • 0.5" in diameter
  • not noticeable


  • dark to light gray
  • deep ridges
  • tree covered in numerous thin, pendulous branches


  • easily transplanted
  • very adaptable to all growing conditions

Landscape Use

  • for fast growth


  • limb breakage caused by wind, ice, and snow
  • constant clean-up of branches
  • insects and diseases problems include:
    1. elm leaf beetle
    2. powdery mildew
    3. cankers
    4. aphids
    5. leaf spot
  • considered a trash tree
  • suckers
  • hard to eradicate once established

ID Features

  • branches always litter understory on tree
  • black hairs on bud scales
  • pendulous branches
  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • oblique leaf base
  • rough leaf, with parallel veins
  • serrate leaf margins
  • deciduous


  • cultivars, by cuttings
  • by seed


Included here are several selection of the species and a number of hybrids, which are noted as such.

'Chinkota' - This cultivar of U. pumila represents a seed-produced line of extra cold-hardy trees.

'Coolshade' - This hybrid form has been bred to express resistance to limb breakage during storms. 'Improved Coolshade' is a fast growing selection that is drought tolerant, hardy, and also resistant to limb breakage.

'Dropmore' - A fast-growing form of U. pumila with small leaves, this plant is hardy well into Canada.

'Lincoln' - Resistant to Dutch elm disease, this U. pumila cultivar shows dark green leaves that are held late. It is hardy into USDA zone 3.

'Morton Plainsman' (Vanguard™) - A tough hybrid tree, this plant shows good disease resistance and tolerance of harsh climatic and cultural situations. The habit is rounded and upright, to 45' tall and wide. It may develop yellow fall color. This plant, along with 'New Horizon', have been recommended as street and shade trees for areas that experience difficult winters.

'New Horizon' - This newer hybrid selection offers both resistance to Dutch elm disease and tolerance of harsh growing conditions. It grows to 40' tall with a spread of 25' and the habit is upright-oval with healthy green foliage. It grows quickly and is very hardy, at least to USDA zone 4.

'Pendula' - Branches that show a more weeping habit are the most notable feature of this selection of U. pumila.

'Urban' - A complex hybrid, this tree is notable for its tolerance of impoverished growing conditions that feature drought, pollution, poor soil, etc. As such, it may be suitable in urban sites. It is not a good ornamental, however, as the branches on the 50' tall tree are stiff and the rounded form lacks the pleasing habit of other available elms.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.