Ulmus minor 'Umbraculifera'

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Ulmus minor cultivar
RN Ulmus minor Umbraculifera.JPG
'Umbraculifera', Netherlands.
Cultivar 'Umbraculifera'
Origin Iran

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Umbraculifera' [:shade-giving] was originally cultivated in Iran, where it was widely planted as an ornamental and occasionally grew to a great size, being known there as 'Nalband' Persian: نعلبند‎‎ [:the tree of the farriers].[1] Litvinov considered it a cultivar of a wild elm with a dense crown that he called U. densa, from the mountains of Turkestan, Ferghana, and Aksu.[2] Non-rounded forms of 'Umbraculifera' are also found in Isfahan Province, Iran.[3] Zielińksi in Flora Iranica considered it an U. minor cultivar.[4]

'Umbraculifera' was introduced to Europe in 1878 by the Späth nursery of Berlin, by one account from a German gardener in the employ of the Shah of Persia,[2] by another from M. Scharrer, inspector of Tiflis Imperial Gardens, Georgia.[5][6][7] It was subsequently planted along streets in Berlin.[2]

'Umbraculifera' was introduced to the USA in 1912 as "Karagatch" (Ulmus densa syn. U. campestris [:U. minor] 'Umbraculifera') at the USDA's Chico Plant Introduction Station in California by Frank Meyer, who collected it from the Russian imperial estate at Murgrab, Turkestan (see photo taken by Meyer in Notable trees below).[8]

Green mistook Späth's U. turkestanica Regel (the U. 'Turkestanica' of his Register of Cultivars[9]) for a synonym of 'Umbraculifera'.[9] Späth listed U. turkestanica Regel and U. campestris umbraculifera separately in his catalogue of 1903, where 'Umbraculifera' appears as "Ball elm. Transcaucasia, Persia. Needs no pruning. Valuable as a single tree, free-standing in park or street".[10]


The tree is distinguished by its dense, rounded, sometimes flat-topped habit.[11][12][13] Henry's statement (1913) that "it differs from ordinary U. nitens [: U. minor] only in its peculiar habit"[2] suggests that, in one form of the tree at least, the leaf is not distinctive. A leaf-specimen labelled U. umbraculifera held in the herbarium of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle appears to confirm this suggestion.[14] However, a leaf-specimen labelled U. umbraculifera Späth held in the herbarium of the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden shows that the clone marketed by the Späth nursery had a distinctive, almost rhomboidal leaf.[15] It is said that the tree is always grafted on to U. minor standards.[2]

Pests and diseases[edit]

The tree is as vulnerable to Dutch elm disease as the species; a specimen at the Ryston Hall [2], Norfolk, arboretum, obtained from the Späth nursery before 1914,[16] was killed by the earlier strain of the disease in the 1930s.


The tree was introduced to the Caucasus, Armenia and Turkestan,[2] and it remains in cultivation in central and south-west Asia.[3] Bean remarked that the tree succeeded well on the continent (Europe) and in eastern North America, but was rarely planted in the UK.[17] Introduced to Australia, the tree was marketed in the early 20th century by the Gembrook Nursery near Melbourne and by Searl's Garden Emporium, Sydney, but it is not known whether the tree survives in that country. Despite its susceptibility to Dutch elm disease, it remains in commercial cultivation in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Umbraculifera Gracilis' was obtained as a sport of 'Umbraculifera' by Späth c.1897-8.[2]

Notable trees[edit]

Regel's Gartenflora (1881) contains an illustration, mentioned by Elwes and Henry in their account of 'Umbraculifera', of a great old tree near Eriwan. An avenue of the trees once grew at the Russian imperial estate of Murgrab at Bairam-ali near Merv, formerly Russian Turkestan.[18]


  • Karagatch, also applied to the hybrid cultivar Ulmus 'Karagatch'.
  • Narwan: The common name for 'elm' in Persian, nār-van [:elm-tree], confusingly similar to the local name for the pomegranate, anār-van [:pomegranate-tree]. In Tehran, Umbraculifera is called nārvan-e čatrī [:canopy-like elm].[3]
  • Ulmus densa var. bubyriana: Litv., Schedae ad Herbarium Florae Rossicae 6: 163, no. 1991, t.1, 2, 1908 and Schedae ad Herbarium Florae Rossicae 8: 23, no. 2444, t. 2, 1922 resp. In the latter, Litvinov described it from a cultivated tree in Samarkand.[9]
  • Ulmus turkestanica: Regel in Gartenflora 33: 28. 1884.

Hybrid cultivars[edit]



  • Hortus Botanicus Nationalis, Salaspils, Latvia. Acc. no. 18147




  1. ^ "Die grosse Herbstausstellung des Vereins zur Beförderung des Gartenbaues in der Flora zu Charlottenburg". Monatsschrift des Vereines zur Beförderung des Gartenbaues in den Königl. Preussischen Staaten für Gärtnerei und Pflanzenkunde. 21: 515. 1878. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Elwes, Henry John; Henry, Augustine (1913). The Trees of Great Britain & Ireland. 7. p. 1893. 
  3. ^ a b c Encyclopaedia Iranica, 'Elm', (6): iranicaonline.org/articles/elm
  4. ^ J. Zielińksi, 'Ulmaceae', Flora Iranica, ed. K. H. Rechinger (Graz, 1979)
  5. ^ "Nouveaux arbres d'ornament". La Belgique horticole. 29: 269. 1879. 
  6. ^ "Beachtenswerte neue einführungen". Hamburger Garten- und Blumenzeitung. 35: 2–3. 1879. 
  7. ^ "Notes". Garden and Forest. 2: 516. 1889. 
  8. ^ Meyer, F. N. (1912). Seeds and plants imported during the period from January 1 to March 31, 1912: Inventory No.30, Nos 32829–32831. Bureau of Plant Industry - Bulletin No. 282. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1913.
  9. ^ a b c Green, Peter Shaw (1964). "Registration of cultivar names in Ulmus". Arnoldia. Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. 24 (6–8): 41–80. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Katalog (PDF). 108. Berlin, Germany: L. Späth Baumschulenweg. 1902–1903. pp. 132–133. 
  11. ^ Photograph of 'Umbraculifera', arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu, 1941, p.74 [1]
  12. ^ Wyman, Donald (1951). "Elms grown in America" (PDF). Arnoldia. Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. 11 (12): 87. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 
  13. ^ Ulmus minor 'Umbraculifera' photographs, Michigan State University Plant Encyclopedia
  14. ^ Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris (France). Collection: Vascular plants (P). Specimen P06880335
  15. ^ "Herbarium specimen - L.1590678". Botany catalogues. Naturalis Biodiversity Center. 
  16. ^ Ryston Hall Arboretum catalogue. c. 1920. pp. 13–14. 
  17. ^ Bean, W. J. (1981). Trees and shrubs hardy in Great Britain, 7th edition. Murray, London.
  18. ^ a b "Ulmus densa (U. campestris umbraculifera)". Bulletin of foreign plant introductions. 78: 10. 1912. 
  19. ^ "C. Die grosse Ulme unweit Eriwan". Gartenflora. 30: 3. 1881. 

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