American elm

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White elm (Ulmus americana)
transverse section


A tall, deciduous tree, Ulmus americana, that grew widely in the eastern half of North America. The American elm was popularly used for lumber prior to the 1930's, and was grown for shade and ornamentation. The hard, tough coarse-grain wood was also used for ship building because it bends well and does not splinter. Dutch elm disease, a fungus carried by the elm-leaf beetle, has systematically killed many of these trees.

Synonyms and Related Terms

white elm; Ulmus americana

American elm Ulmus americana

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Trees growing to heights of 35 m with trunk up to 2 m in diameter.
  • Leaves=alternate with serrated margins
  • Specific gravity = 0.56
  • Density = 35 ppcf

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 292
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Gordon Hanlon, contributed information, 1998
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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