Friday, April 13, 2012

100 Species Challenge #79

An elm seed on the forest floor.

Specimen #79

Name: Elm, Ulmus americana

I hope to revisit this specimen in the fall when the leaves drop.

How do I know the elm tree? The slippery elm is very memorable to me as Sam in the story My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, uses the inner bark as soap. I also know that people use inner bark of slippery elm for colds. You might find more info here: If you're wanting statistics and photos, have a look at the U.S. Plants Database. I can't recall seeing an elm standing alone, so I don't know that I can get a photo of an entire top to bottom elm tree.

I recently saw a story about elm cloning, so during my hike, I had a different awareness about me.

I typically see the elm seed in early spring. They were everywhere when I was growing up -- the cars were parked outside instead of in a garage, so I had to deal with them daily. The trees I usually see are very very tall and in a forest, but if I look up and squint my eyes against the bright sky (funny how it's bright even during cloudy conditions), I can see serrated leaf margins.

Elms (but not Siberian elms) are native throughout the state. Forest and Shade Trees of Iowa lists American, Slippery, Rock, and Siberian as occuring in Iowa.

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