Chinese or lacebark elm stands out from other elms. It has an unusual mottled bark, leaves that are smaller than those of other elm species and good resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED) and elm leaf beetle.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Occasional drought,
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil,
- Road salt
- Moderately Tolerant
- Fall color,
- Attractive bark
Season of Interest:
- Early winter,
- Mid winter,
- Late winter,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall,
- Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Migrant birds
Tree & Plant Care
Tolerant of urban conditions. Do not prune elm trees between mid-April and mid-October.
Disease, pests, and problems
Elm yellows and elm leaf miner are possible problems.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
This species shows good resistance to Dutch elm disease, elm leaf beetle and Japanese beetle.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to China, Korea and Japan.
Bark color and texture
The bark of this species is very different from the bark of other elms. It is thinner and has a mottled appearance, with pieces of bark peeling away.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, simple leaves that have the typical shape of an elm leaf, but are smaller than most elm species (3/4 to 2 inches long). Toothed leaf margins.
Dark green in summer, changing to yellow and reddish purple in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Inconspicuous; produced in late summer rather than in spring.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
The fruit is a seed in small oval samara (seed case with wings for wind dispersal).
Cultivars and their differences
Allee® lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia 'Emer II'): More vase-shaped than the species. Distinctive, attractive, peeling bark characteristics. Highly resistant to Dutch elm disease and elm leaf beetle. Dark green leaves turn light yellow in fall.
Athena® lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia 'Emer I'): Rounded shape, with dark green foliage and limited fall color. Distinctive peeling bark. Highly resistant to Dutch elm disease and elm leaf beetle.