Ulmus 'Columella'

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Ulmus hybrid cultivar
RN Ulmus Columella (koninginneweg amsterdam).jpg
'Columella', Amsterdam.
Hybrid parentage 'Plantyn', selfed or openly pollinated
Cultivar 'Columella'
Origin Wageningen, The Netherlands

Ulmus 'Columella' is a Dutch elm cultivar raised by the Dorschkamp Research Institute in Wageningen from a selfed or openly-pollinated seedling of the hybrid clone 'Plantyn' sown in 1967. It was released for sale in 1989 after proving extremely resistant to Dutch elm disease following inoculation with unnaturally high doses of the pathogen, Ophiostoma novo-ulmi.[1] However, propagated by grafting onto Wych Elm rootstocks, graft failure owing to incompatibility has become a common occurrence in the Netherlands.


'Columella' makes a tall, fastigiate tree with very upright branches, but broadens in later years [2] [3]. The rough, rounded, and curiously twisted leaves, < 7 cm long, are the result of a recessive gene inherited from its Exeter Elm ancestor, and are arranged in asymmetric clusters on short branchlets. The samarae, broadly obovate, are 13–17 mm long by 10–12 mm wide.

Pests and diseases[edit]

Rated 5 out of 5 [2] 'Columella' has a very high resistance to Dutch elm disease.


Wind resistant, the tree has been planted throughout the Netherlands, where its columnar shape has made it popular as a street tree. It is commonly found in Amsterdam, where it has been widely planted as a replacement for the similarly fastigiate Guernsey Elm, U. minor 'Sarniensis' [4], itself a replacement for the Belgian Elm, Ulmus × hollandica 'Belgica', which had succumbed so readily to the earlier strain of Dutch elm disease after World War I. 'Columella' has also been planted to replace Guernsey Elm in Edinburgh.[3]

In trials conducted by Butterfly Conservation in southern Hampshire, England, 'Columella' was the only cultivar to become distressed during the drought of 2006, shedding most of its foliage by early August; a trait possibly inherited from one of the tree's ancestors, the Himalayan Elm Ulmus wallichiana. 'Columella' first flowered aged 8 years, in March; the resultant seeds were found to have a moderate viability.[4] 'Columella' featured in New Zealand government trials during the 1990s at the Hortresearch station, Palmerston North, but is not known to have been introduced to North America.

Hybrid cultivars[edit]

  • Clone FL 666 (Heybroek's 405* × 'Columella'), Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante, Florence. Not in commerce. *(U. × hollandica × U. minor)
  • Clone FL 589 ('San Zanobi' × 'Columella'), Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante, Florence. Not in commerce.


The hybrid is named for the Roman agronomist Columella, who introduced the Atinian elm (now more commonly known as the English Elm) to Spain from Italy circa AD 50.


North America[edit]





  1. ^ Heybroek, H. (1993). The Dutch Elm Breeding Program. In Sticklen & Sherald (Eds.) (1993). Dutch Elm Disease Research, Chapter 3. Springer Verlag, New York, USA.
  2. ^ Heybroek, H. M., Goudzwaard, L, Kaljee, H. (2009). Iep of olm, karakterboom van de Lage Landen (:Elm, a tree with character of the Low Countries). KNNV, Uitgeverij. ISBN 9789050112819
  3. ^ Established 'Columella' plantings in Castle Terrace and Glengyle Terrace; recent plantings in Bellevue Place and Bruntsfield Links.
  4. ^ Brookes, A. H. (2015). Disease-resistant elms, Butterfly Conservation trials report, 2015. Butterfly Conservation, Hants & IoW Branch, England. [1]
  5. ^ "List of plants in the {elm} collection". Brighton & Hove City Council. Retrieved 23 September 2016.