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Ulmaceae: Elm Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Elm Family

      The Elm family consists of a handful of trees and shrubs in the eastern and southern parts of the country, some of which are planted elsewhere as ornamentals. The leaves are simple and alternate, but often a little bit asymmetrical at the base. The flowers are bisexual in the elms and unisexual in the other genera. There are 4 or 8 separate sepals and 0 petals, plus 4 to 8 stamens. The ovary is positioned superior and consists of 2 united carpels (bicarpellate) forming a single chamber. It matures as a winged seed or a drupe (a fleshy fruit with a stony pit).

      Worldwide, there are about 15 genera and 200 species in the Elm family. Only the hackberry (Celtis) is found naturally in the West. It is now considered a member of the Hemp family, but retained here for convenience in identification. Other cultivated genera from the family include Aphananthe, Hemiptelea, Pteroceltis, and Zelkova. The elm population has suffered greatly from Dutch elm disease.

Key Words: Trees and shrubs with simple leaves asymmetrical at the base.

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Celtis reticulata. Hackberry.

Celtis reticulata. Hackberry. Fort Bowie National Historic Monument. Arizona.

Celtis reticulata. Hackberry.

Celtis reticulata. Hackberry. Hells Canyon, Idaho.

Ulmus pumila. Siberian Elm.

Ulmus pumila. Siberian Elm.

Ulmus pumila. Siberian Elm.

Ulmus pumila. Siberian Elm. Samaras.

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Elm Family pictures

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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Botany in a Day
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