Ulmus minor 'Monumentalis'

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Ulmus minor 'Monumentalis'
SpeciesUlmus minor
OriginRinz, Frankfurt

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Monumentalis', the tomb elm (Grabmal-Rüster),[1] was raised as a sucker of U. suberosa by Sebastian Rinz, the city gardener of Frankfurt, and described as U. campestris var. monumentalis Rinz, 'Pyramid Field Elm', by Kirchner (1864), who said it had only recently been propagated by Rinz and established in the nursery.[2] It was distributed from the 1880s by the Baudriller nursery, Angers,[3] and by the Späth nursery, Berlin, as U. campestris monumentalis Rinz., appearing separately in their catalogues from U. minor 'Sarniensis', the Guernsey or Wheatley Elm,[4][5][6] with which, according to Henry, it was confused on the continent.[7] Krüssmann, for example, gives 'Monumentalis' as a synonym of 'Sarniensis'.[8] 'Sarniensis' is known as monumentaaliep [:monumental elm] in The Netherlands.[9][10] Springer noted that the Dutch monumentaaliep was "not the actual monumentaaliep (U. glabra Mill var. monumentalis Rinz) but U. glabra Mill. var. Wheatleyi Sim. Louis", and that it "should be renamed U. glabra Mill. var. monumentalis Hort. (non Rinz)".[11] In England, Smith's of Worcester listed Ulmus monumentalis separately from Ulmus 'Wheatley' in the 1880s.[12]

Rinz gave his tree the name 'Monumentalis' for its columnar form,[13] and (according to Beissner) because the parent tree stood near the Monument of the Landgrave of Hesse (Hessenmonument) on the former glacis, which is now (1889) located in the city at Frankfurt.[14] The German name 'Tomb Elm' may have arisen from the tree's similarity in form to cypress, a burial-ground tree in parts of Europe.


Kirchner (1864) described 'Monumentalis' as a pyramidal field elm with a few upright main branches and numerous weak, short side-branches. The small, very rough leaves form a dark green foliage "that appears to hug the trunk".[2] 'Monumentalis' was described by Beissner (1904) as a columnar form of suberose field elm with short, crowded, contorted branches and dense, often twisted black-green leaves, a tree of "a very peculiar monstrous appearance".[15] Rinz reported that tree did not grow tall.[13] Some nurseries referred to it as a "dwarf" elm.[16][17] Henry described it as "a columnar tree with a few upright main branches and numerous short twigs bearing dense crowded dark green leaves".[7][18] Späth's catalogue likewise described the tree as having a dense upright shape.[4]

Heike in Die Gartenkunst (1908) described 'Monumentalis' as "strictly pyramidal", and 'Wheatleyi' ('Sarniensis') as "similar, but [with] a wider, loose crown and pale green foliage." [19]

Pests and diseases[edit]

Field Elm cultivars are susceptible to Dutch elm disease, but, if not grafted, often survive through root-sucker regrowth. Chevalier noted (1942) that 'Monumentalis' Rinz was one of four European cultivars found by researchers in The Netherlands to have significant resistance to the earlier strain of Dutch elm disease prevalent in the 1920s and '30s, the others being 'Exoniensis', 'Berardii' and 'Vegeta'. The four were rated less resistant than U. foliacea clone 23, from Spain, later cultivated as 'Christine Buisman'.[20]


No examples are known, but a non-grafted field elm cultivar would be expected to survive through root-suckering. One tree was planted in 1893 as U. campestris monumentalis at the Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, Canada.[21] Three specimens were supplied by Späth to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in 1902 as U. campestris monumentalis. One was planted in the garden proper (see 'Putative specimens'); the other two, or regrowth from them, may survive in Edinburgh, as it was the practice of the Garden to distribute trees about the city (viz. the Wentworth Elm);[22] the current list of Living Accessions held in the Garden per se does not list the plant.[23]

U. campestris monumentalis appeared separately from U. campestris sarniensis in the early 20th-century catalogue of the Ryston Hall arboretum, Norfolk.[24] Introduced to the USA, it appeared in the 1904 catalogue of Kelsey's, New York, and in the 1909 catalogue of the Bobbink and Atkins nursery, Rutherford, New Jersey, in separate entries from Wheatley Elm, as U. monumentalis, 'Monumental Elm', "a small variety, slow and dense of growth".[25][26] An U. campestris monumentalis had appeared in the catalogues of the Mount Hope Nursery (also known as Ellwanger and Barry) of Rochester, New York, as early as 1871.[27] In 1898 the nursery described their 'Monumentalis' as "a dwarf" and "conical in habit".[28]

Putative specimens[edit]

A suckering, narrow-pyramidal or columnar elm resembling a wild cypress (about 11 m), with dense upright branching and small dark-green leaves, that stood on the azalea lawn in RBGE till the 1990s,[29] may have been one of Späth's three 1902 'Monumentalis'. Melville renamed it U. carpinifolia × U. plotii × U. glabra in 1958.[30]

The leaves were pilose above and rather distorted, the lower surface with a zone of dense hair towards the base of the midrib.[31] The tree was one of the first RBGE elms into leaf.

A stand of young, narrow, dense-foliaged suckering field elm, with 'Monumentalis'-like leaves, below the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh (2018), may be regrowth from one of the specimens from Späth. Calton Hill was described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "a hill of monuments", a sobriquet perhaps relevant to the planting-location of this cultivar.[32]


  1. ^ Schmidlin, Eduard; Nietner, Theodor; Rümpler, Theodor (1875). Schmidlin's Gartenbuch. p. 221. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Petzold; Kirchner (1864). Arboretum Muscaviense. p. 554.
  3. ^ Baudriller Établissement d'Horticulture (1880). Catalogue général descriptif et raisonné des arbres fruitiers, forestiers & d'ornement cultivés dans l'établissement. Angers. p. 116.
  4. ^ a b Katalog (PDF). 108. Berlin, Germany: L. Späth Baumschulenweg. 1902–1903. pp. 132–133.
  5. ^ Späth, L., Catalogue 143 (1910-11; Berlin), p.134-135
  6. ^ Späth, Ludwig (1930). Späth-Buch, 1720-1930. Berlin: Self published. pp. 311–313, 351–352.
  7. ^ a b Elwes, Henry John; Henry, Augustine (1913). The Trees of Great Britain & Ireland. 7. pp. 1891–1892.
  8. ^ Krüssmann, Gerd, Manual of Cultivated Broad-Leaved Trees & Shrubs (1984 vol. 3), p.404
  9. ^ Amsterdamse Iepen, bomeninfo.nl
  10. ^ F. J., Fontaine (1968). "Ulmus". Dendroflora. 5: 37–55. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  11. ^ Springer, Leonard (1932). "Oorspronkelijke Bijdragen Nederlandsch Boschbouw-Tijdschrift". Oorspronkelijke Bijdragen. 5 (7–8): 236. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  12. ^ 'Standard Ornamental Trees' in Forest, hardy ornamental trees, conifers, etc., Richard Smith & Co., Worcester, catalogue 1887–88, p.27
  13. ^ a b K. Koch, Wochenschrift des Vereines zur Beförderung des Gartenbaues, Vol.15, Berlin, 4 May 1872 p.140
  14. ^ H. Jäger, L. Beissner, Die Ziergehölze der Gärten und Parkanlagen (Weimar 1889), p.400n.
  15. ^ Beissner, L., Mitteilungen der Deutschen dendrologischen gesellschaft (Bonn, 1904), p.140
  16. ^ Ellwanger & Barry's general catalogue; Mount Hope nurseries, 1890; p.49
  17. ^ Illustrated and descriptive catalogue of fruit and ornamental trees, Perry Nursery Co., Rochester, N.Y., 1912, p.90
  18. ^ Green, Peter Shaw (1964). "Registration of cultivar names in Ulmus". Arnoldia. Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. 24 (6–8): 41–80. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  19. ^ Die Gartenkunst, X,3, p.51
  20. ^ "Les Ormes de France" (PDF). Revue de botanique appliquée et d'agriculture coloniale. 22 (254): 441. 1942.
  21. ^ Saunders, William; Macoun, William Tyrrell (1899). Catalogue of the trees and shrubs in the arboretum and botanic gardens at the central experimental farm (2 ed.). pp. 74–75.
  22. ^ Accessions book. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 1902. pp. 45, 47. Accession numbers E00824706, E00824707, E00824708.
  23. ^ "List of Living Accessions: Ulmus". Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  24. ^ Ryston Hall Arboretum catalogue. c. 1920. pp. 13–14.
  25. ^ General catalogue, 1904 : choice hardy trees, shrubs, evergreens, roses, herbaceous plants, fruits, etc. New York: Frederick W. Kelsey. 1904. p. 18.
  26. ^ Bobbink and Atkins nursery, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1909 catalogue, p.51
  27. ^ 'Descriptive Catalogue of Ornamental Trees & Shrubs', no.2, Mount Hope Nursery, Rochester, 1871; p.6
  28. ^ Ellwanger & Barry, Mount Hope Nurseries, Rochester, 1898 catalogue; p.61
  29. ^ Distant photograph in Deni Bown, Four Gardens in One: The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Edinburgh 1992), p.73
  30. ^ RBGE Cultivated Herbarium Accessions Book: October 1958 notes by Ronald Melville on specimen C2713, azalea lawn
  31. ^ Description from RBGE, February 2018
  32. ^ Macdonald, Angus and Macdonald, Patricia, Above Edinburgh and South East Scotland (Edinburgh 1989)

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