Zelkova × verschaffeltii

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Zelkova × verschaffeltii
Hybrid parentage Z. carpinifolia × Z. serrata
Origin Unknown

Zelkova × verschaffeltii (Dippel) G.Nicholson (Cut-leaf Zelkova) is a zelkova cultivar of hybrid origin. It was originally described in 1892 by Leopold Dippel from a cultivated plant as Zelkova japonica var. verschaffeltii, suggesting an eastern Asian origin for it. In 1896, George Nicholson raised it to species rank as Zelkova verschaffeltii, while its much closer similarity to Zelkova carpinifolia led Augustine Henry to suggest it might be a hybrid between Zelkova carpinifolia and Zelkova abelicea.[1] More recent authors most widely regarded it as a cultivar, either not ascribed to any Zelkova species in particular,[1] or placed under Z. carpinifolia with no suggestion of hybrid origin.[2] Analysis of flavonoids has subsequently proved that it is a hybrid between Zelkova carpinifolia and Zelkova serrata.[3]

Name in error[edit]

The tree was originally misidentified as an elm. The putative cultivar Ulmus 'Pitteurs Pendula' was listed by C. de Vos in Handboek Supplement 16, 1890, as Ulmus pitteursii pendula. However, Hans M. Heybroek, erstwhile head of the Dutch elm breeding programme at the de Dorschkamp Research Institute for Forestry and Landscape Planning at Wageningen, identified the tree as Zelkova × verschaffeltii.[4]


A large shrub or small, bushy-crowned tree < 15 m tall, with mottled grey and brown bark and graceful habit. The leaves are narrow, 3.5–8 cm long and 1.3–6.6 cm broad, deeply incised with between five and ten pairs of triangular teeth. The fruit is rarely produced, a small two-lobed dry nut-like drupe 4–5 mm diameter.[5][6][7][8]


First found in cultivation in the van Houtte nursery at Ghent in Belgium before 1885.


The tree is named for the Belgian botanist Ambroise Verschaffelt who owned the Verschaffelt Nursery in Ghent, later acquired by Jean Jules Linden, the renowned horticulturist and camellia specialist.



North America[edit]



  1. ^ a b Bean, W. J. (1980). Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles 8th ed., vol. 4. John Murray ISBN 0-7195-2428-8.
  2. ^ Czerepanov, S. (1957). Revisio specierum generum Zelkova Spach et Hemiptelea Planchon. Bot. Material 18: 58-72.
  3. ^ Santamour, F. S. (1983). Flavonoid distribution in Zelkova. J. Arboriculture 9 (7): 190-192.
  4. ^ Green, P. S. (1964). Registration of cultivar names in Ulmus. Arnoldia, Vol. 24. Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. [1]
  5. ^ Andrews, S. (1994). Tree of the year: Zelkova. Int. Dendrol. Soc. Yearbook 1993: 11-30.
  6. ^ Mitchell, A. F. (1974). A Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-212035-6
  7. ^ Mitchell, A. F. (1982). The Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-219037-0
  8. ^ White, J. & More, D. (2003). Trees of Britain & Northern Europe. Cassell's, London. ISBN 0-304-36192-5
  9. ^ Tree Register of the British Isles