|Mature cultivated Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)|
Ulmus rubra, the Slippery Elm, is a species of elm native to eastern North America (from southeast North Dakota, east to Maine and southern Quebec, south to northernmost Florida, and west to eastern Texas). Other common names include Red Elm, Gray Elm, Soft Elm, Moose Elm, and Indian Elm.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
This widespread, common North American forest tree species was named several times, with Pennsylvania botanist Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg's 1793 name Ulmus rubra now accepted as the first formally published. The slightly later name U. fulva, published by French botanist André Michaux in 1803, is used in much of the older literature, and is still widely used in dietary-supplement and alternative-medicine information.
The slippery elm has almost universally been treated taxonomically as a distinct species without named subspecies or varieties. However, it was sometimes considered a variety of the American Elm, Ulmus americana var. rubra, in the late 18th century. The species is similar to American Elm (U. americana) in general appearance, but more closely related to the European Wych Elm (U. glabra), which has a very similar flower structure.
The yoke of the Liberty Bell was made from Slippery Elm.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
Ulmus rubra, the Slippery Elm, is a deciduous tree which can grow to 65 feet (20 m) in height with a 20-inch (50 cm) d.b.h. trunk. The tree's more upright branching pattern differs from the deliquescent branching of the American elm. Its heartwood is reddish-brown, giving the tree its alternative common name 'Red Elm'. The leaves are 4-6 in (10–18 cm) long and have a rough texture (especially above), coarsely double-serrate margins, acuminate apices and oblique bases. The perfect, apetalous, wind-pollinated flowers are produced before the leaves in early spring, usually in clusters of 10–20. The fruit is an oval winged samara about 3/4 in (20 mm) long that containing a single, central seed. Slippery elm may be distinguished from American elm by the hairiness of its buds and twigs (both smooth on the American elm) and by its very short-stalked flowers.
Pests and diseases
Slippery Elm thrives in moisture-rich uplands, but it will also grow in dry, intermediate soils.
In the central United States, native Ulmus rubra hybridizes in the wild with the Siberian elm (U. pumila), which was introduced in the early 20th century and which has spread widely since then, contributing to conservation concerns for the former species.
The species has been introduced to Europe and Australasia.
U. rubra had limited success as a hybrid parent in the 1960s, resulting in the cultivars 'Coolshade', 'Lincoln', 'Rosehill', and probably 'Willis'. In later years, it was also used in the Wisconsin program to produce 'Repura' and 'Revera'  although neither is known to have been released to commerce.
The epithet rubra (red) alludes to the tree's reddish wood, whilst the common name "Slippery Elm" alludes to the mucilaginous inner bark.
- North America
- Arnold Arboretum. Acc. nos. 737-88, 738-88, both of unrecorded provenance.
- Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest , Clermont, Kentucky. No details available.
- Brenton Arboretum, Dallas Center, Iowa. No details available.
- Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois. 1 tree, no other details available.
- Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, Canada. No acc. details available.
- Longwood Gardens. Acc. no. L-3002, of unrecorded provenance.
- Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. No details available.
- Smith College. Acc. no. 8119PA.
- U S National Arboretum , Washington, D.C., USA. Acc. no. 77501.
- Brighton & Hove City Council, NCCPG elm collection : Carden Park, Hollingdean (1 tree); Malthouse Car Park, Kemp Town (1 tree); there may also be examples at Sussex University Campus.
- Grange Farm Arboretum, Sutton St James, Spalding, Lincolnshire, UK. Acc. no. 522
- Hortus Botanicus Nationalis, Salaspils, Latvia. Acc. nos. 18168, 18169, 18170.
- Linnaean Gardens of Uppsala, Sweden. As U. fulva. Acc. no. 1955-1052.
- Royal Botanic Gardens Wakehurst Place. Acc. no. 1973-21050.
- Thenford House arboretum, Northamptonshire, UK. No details available.
- University of Copenhagen Botanic Garden. No details available.
- Eastwoodhill Arboretum , Gisborne, New Zealand. 1 tree, no details available.
- Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne General Cemetery, no details available. Picture on Flickr.
Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) has various traditional medicinal uses. The mucilagenous inner bark of the slippery elm has long been used as a demulcent, and is still produced commercially for this purpose in the United States with approval for sale as a nutritional supplement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sometimes slippery elm leaves are dried and ground into a powder, then made into a tea. Both slippery elm gruel and tea may help to soothe the digestive tract. Tea made of inner bark of slippery elm is considered to be beneficial for psoriasis because of its demulcent effect on intestines. It is however not recommended for women during pregnancy.  Slippery elm may decrease the absorption of prescription medications.
The wood of the slippery elm is used for the hubs of wagon wheels, as it is very shock resistant owing to the interlocking grain.
The tree's fibrous inner bark produces a strong and durable fiber that can be spun into thread, twine, or rope useful for bow strings, ropes, jewellery, clothing, snowshoe bindings, woven mats, and even some musical instruments.
- "Ulmus rubra information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- "Ulmus rubra". Illinois State Museum.
- "Ulmus rubra Muhl". Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry.
- Zalapa, J. E.; Brunet, J.; Guries, R. P. (2008). "Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers for red elm (Ulmus rubra Muhl.) and cross-species amplification with Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila L.)". Molecular Ecology Resources 8 (1): 109–12. doi:10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01805.x. PMID 21585729.
- 'Conservation status of Red Elm (U. rubra) in the north-central United States', elm2013.ipp.cnr.it/downloads/book_of_abstracts.pdfCached p.33-35
- Green, P S (24 July 1964). "Registration of cultivar names in Ulmus" (PDF). Arnoldia 24 (6–8): 41–46.
- Santamour, Frank S; Susan E Bentz (May 1995). "Updated checklist of elm (Ulmus) cultivars for use in North America". Journal of Arboriculture 21 (3): 122–131.
- Braun, Lesley; Cohen, Marc (2006). Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone. p. 586. ISBN 978-0-7295-3796-4. , quote:"Although Slippery Elm has not been scientifically investigated, the FDA has approved it as a safe demulcent substance."
- "Bile reflux: Alternative medicine - MayoClinic.com". www.mayoclinic.com. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- Pagano, John OA. Healing Psoriasis-The natural alternative. Wiley.
- Werthner, William B. (1935). Some American Trees: An intimate study of native Ohio trees. New York: The Macmillan Company. pp. xviii + 398.
|Wikisource has the text of a 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article about Ulmus rubra.|