Siberian elms can reach a height of 50 to 70 feet, and have gray or brown bark with shallow furrows. The crown is round and slender branches spread throughout. The buds and twigs are nearly hairless. Leaves are small, elliptical, smooth, and singly-toothed reaching a length of approximately 0.8-2.6 inches. They are round or tapering near the base and pointed toward the tip. Leaves are dark green and smooth above and paler and nearly hairless beneath.
Siberian elms are native to northern China, eastern Siberia, Manchuria, and Korea. They were introduced into the the United States in the 1860's. Because of its ability to survive a wide variety of conditions, it is found along roadsides, in pastures, and in grasslands. It is now established from Minnesota, south to Arkansas, and west to Utah.
Flowers appear early in the spring allowing the fruit to develop quickly and be disperse by wind. Thickets of seedlings are formed on bare ground. Seeds germinate readily and seedlings grow rapidly.
Due to the Siberian elm's ability to thrive over a wide range of environmental conditions, if introduced, it may come to dominate an area within a few years. Therefore, it is a threat to native communities of plants and animals.
Want to Help Us Better Understand the Park?
See our iNaturalist project, "The Life of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area" and contribute to it by downloading the iNaturalist app and uploading your sightings of this species, and others, to the project. You can also upload your sightings from your computer.