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Woody > Ulmus > Ulmus parvifolia > Ulmus parvifolia

Ulmus parvifolia

Lacebark Elm, Chinese Elm

Origin:  Asia: northern China, Japan, and Korea.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


An underused tree with a delicate form if pruned to enhance. It has outstanding exfoliating bark. It is a plant that is seldom seen in the garden; it should be planted more often. I was impressed with this tree as a student at Niagara Parks and agree with Michael Dirr and believe it to be a tree of the future.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
12-15 m
10-15 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
The Lacebark elm trees has a unique bark that looks good at anytime of year. Pruning will enhance form and promote strong character.
The Lacebark Elm can be used in urban landscapes mainly due to its pollution tolerance, often used as an accent specimen due to its exfoliating bark.
A tree tolerant of a variety of soil conditions and locations. Easily transplanted and tolerant of urban conditions.
Upright to rounded canopy that in some forms may be slightly penulous.
ID Characteristic
The Lacebark Elm has a unique smooth, mottled brown bark which sheds in thin flakes, showing the orange to red-brown inner bark making the tree easy to identify at anytime of year. Easy to identify amongst the Elms because of its late summer–early autumn seed set.
The Lacebark Elm tree has considerable resistance to the elm leaf beetle and Japanese horned beetle and is also unusually resistant to dutch elm disease.
Bark/Stem Description
Lacebark Elm has a smooth, mottled brown bark. That sheds in thin flakes, showing the orange to red-brown inner bark; very attractive.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The buds of Lacebark Elm tree are the smallest of any elm. Buds on the stem are alternate, brown in colour and are about 25–32 mm long.
Leaf Description
The leaves of the Lacebark Elm are uniquely rounded at the bottom. 1.8–6.4 cm long, alternate, simple elliptic to obovate in shape; yellow to red-purple in autumn.
Flower Description
The flowers are inconspicuous and appearing in axillary clusters during August–September; the flowers often go unnoticed because they are hidden by foliage.
Fruit Description
The fruit ripens in September–October, and are about 1.84 cm long samara that is obovate to elliptic in shape.
Colour Description
Leaves are dark green in the summer, turning yellow to red-purple in the autumn. Bark is brown to grey with a mottled khaki colouring.
Texture Description
Medium to fine leaf texture.
Notable Specimens
The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Fresh seed germinates quite easily. However, if it left to dry germination is a little more complicated, often requiring 30 days at 5°C stratification. Cuttings collected in May/June and rooted under mist are also successful.