Ulmus canescens

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Ulmus canescens
U. canescens bark.jpg
Bark and young leaves, Antal Ben Shaddad, Jerusalem
Scientific classification (disputed)
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Ulmaceae
Genus: Ulmus
Species: U. canescens
Binomial name
Ulmus canescens
  • Ulmus campestris L. var. australis Henry
  • Ulmus campestris L. var. dalmatica Baldacci
  • Ulmus glabra Mill. var.pilifera Borbas
  • Ulmus minor Mill.
  • Ulmus nemoralis Fraas
  • Ulmus pilifera Borbas
  • Ulmus procera Salisb.
  • Ulmus tetrandra Sckk.
  • Ulmus tortuosa Host
  • Ulmus wissotzkyi Kotov

Ulmus canescens Melville is a small deciduous tree occasionally known by the common names Grey Elm, Grey-leafed Elm, and Hoary Elm. Its natural range extends through the lands of the central and eastern Mediterranean, from southern Italy,[1] the islands of Sicily,[2] Malta,[3] Crete,[4] Rhodes[5] and Cyprus, to Turkey,[6] and as far south as Israel, where it is now considered rare and endangered in the wild.[7] The tree is typically found amidst the comparatively humid coastal woodlands and scrublands.


The taxonomy of the tree remains a matter of contention; some authorities, notably Richens, treated it as a subspecies of Ulmus minor.[8][9]



The tree is comparatively small, < 20 m high; the slender trunk, its bark coarsely fissured, supporting a rounded crown. The leaves are elliptic to ovate, bluntly toothed, and densely downy on the underside when mature, imbuing them with a distinctive greyish hue.[10] The young shoots also have a whitish-grey down.[11] The tree flowers in February and March, the round samarae, < 15 mm diameter, deeply notched at the outer end, ripen in April.[12][13]

Pests and diseases[edit]

U. canescens is highly susceptible to Dutch elm disease.


U. canescens is planted as a street tree in Israel and in Jordan, especially Amman.[citation needed] There are no known cultivars of this taxon, nor is it known to be in commerce.

Notable trees[edit]

Mature trees occur in Jerusalem near the Damascus Gate along the Prophets Road and Antal Ben Shaddad street. In Nazareth, a line of mature trees is found along the road leading to the Basilica.


North America


  1. ^ Richens, R. H., Elm (Cambridge 1983), p.18
  2. ^ Scialabba, A., M. R. Melati, and F. M. Raimondo. "Taxonomic studies on the Sicilian elms: leaf structure of their species and hybrids." Bocconea 5.2 (1997): 493-504.
  3. ^ Plant: Ulmus canescens (Hoary Elm): Wild Plants of Malta & Gozo - Plant: Ulmus canescens (Hoary Elm), accessdate: October 27, 2016
  4. ^ 'Canescens' in Crete, (1) in the Apokoronas region: George Sfikas, Trees and shrubs of Greece (Athens, 2nd ed. 2001) p.140; (2) in the Aghia Irene gorge in the Temenos region: Natural Europe Project, University of Crete, europeana.eu http://www.europeana.eu/portal/record/2023901/content_7af226a0_c461_4c99_8ce8_9de4e41fa3ac.html Small leaved Elm, Ulmus minor subsp. canescens | Avramakis, M.
  5. ^ Flore of Rhodes: Ulmus canescens - Flore of Rhodes, accessdate: October 27, 2016
  6. ^ 'Canescens' in Turkey, "Herbarium specimen - E00405654". Herbarium Catalogue. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 
  7. ^ Flora of Israel Online: Ulmus minor Mill. | Flora of Israel Online, accessdate: October 27, 2016
  8. ^ Richens, R. H. (1983). Elm. Cambridge University Press, England.
  9. ^ Melville, R. (1978). On the discrimination of species in hybrid swarms with special reference to Ulmus and the nomenclature of U. minor (Mill.) and U. carpinifolia (Gled.). Taxon 27: 345-351
  10. ^ Herbarium leaf-specimen, with rule: "Herbarium specimen - E00405654". Herbarium Catalogue. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 
  11. ^ Diagnostic photographs of 'Canescens' in Malta: Hoary elm, maltawildplants.com
  12. ^ Bean, W. J. (1980). Trees and shrubs hardy in Great Britain. 8th edition. Murray, UK.
  13. ^ Melville, R. (1957). "Ulmus canescens: an eastern Mediterranean elm." Kew Bulletin: 499-502, 1957

External links[edit]