Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Ulmus rubra


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Coladonato, Milo. 1993. Ulmus rubra. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ULMRUB SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : ULRU COMMON NAMES : slippery elm red elm gray elm soft elm TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for slippery elm is Ulmus rubra Muhl. [24]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. Slippery elm is commonly crossed with Siberian elm (U. pumilia). Hybrids of rock elm (U. thomasii) and slippery elm have been observed in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, and along streets in Columbia, Missouri [10]. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Slippery elm's range extends from southwestern Maine west to extreme southern Quebec, southern Ontario, New York, northern Michigan, central Minnesota, eastern North Dakota; south through eastern South Dakota, central Nebraska, southwestern Oklahoma, and central Texas; then east to northwestern Florida and Georgia. Slippery elm is uncommon in the part of its range south of Kentucky; it is most abundant in the southern part of the Lake States and in the cornbelt of the Midwest [10,12,24]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie STATES : AL AR CT DE FL GA IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO NE NH NJ NY NC ND OH OK PA RI SC SD TN TX VT VA WV WI ON PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 14 Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K074 Bluestem prairie K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K090 Live oak - sea oats K095 Great Lakes pine forest K098 Northern floodplain forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K102 Beech - maple forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES : 14 Northern pin oak 15 Red pine 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 19 Gray birch - red maple 20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple 21 Eastern white pine 22 White pine - hemlock 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 26 Sugar maple - basswood 27 Sugar maple 28 Black cherry - maple 39 Black ash - American elm - red maple 42 Bur oak 43 Bear oak 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 57 Yellow-poplar 58 Yellow-poplar - eastern hemlock 59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak 60 Beech - sugar maple 61 River birch - sycamore 62 Silver maple - American elm 64 Sassafras - persimmon 65 Pin oak - sweetgum 80 Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine 81 Loblolly pine 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 87 Sweet gum - yellow-poplar 89 Live oak 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 92 Sweetgum - willow oak 93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash 94 Sycamore - sweetgum - American elm 95 Black willow 96 Overcup oak - water hickory 101 Baldcypress 102 Baldcypress - tupelo 108 Red maple 109 Hawthorn SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Slippery elm is not an important lumber tree. The wood is considered inferior to that of American elm (U. americana) even though both are mixed and sold together as soft elm [26,35]. Slippery elm is used in the manufacture of boxes, baskets, crates, and barrels [37]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : The seeds of slippery elm are eaten by birds and small mammals. Deer and rabbits browse the twigs [10,31]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : Slippery elm trees provide thermal cover and nesting sites for a variety of primary and secondary cavity nesters [17,19]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : The bark of slippery elm contains a mucilaginous substance that was used as a treatment for coughs and diarrhea by the early settlers. It has also been used as a street ornamental, but its use is limited due to Dutch elm disease [10,32,37]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Slippery elm is susceptible to many of the same diseases as American elm. It is attacked and killed by Dutch elm disease, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis ulmi [5,33]. Throughout much of its range, it is also killed by elm yellows or elm phloem necrosis. These two diseases are so virulent and widespread that slippery elm seldom reaches commercial size and volume as a forest tree, and it is being replaced as a street tree in many localities. In mixed-hardwood stands, bark stripping by deer is more frequent on stems of saplings and on roots of pole-sized trees [10].


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Slippery elm is a native, medium-sized, deciduous tree reaching 60 to 70 feet (18-21 m) on average sites and 135 feet (41 m) on the best sites. In the forest, it has a straight bole with the trunk dividing into widespreading limbs high up the tree. The crown is broad and rather flat topped. The perfect flowers form dense packed clusters. The root system is shallow but widespreading [8,11,18,21]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Seeds of slippery elm are larger than those of many of the native elms. Dispersal is by gravity and wind [10,16]. Seeds sometimes show dormancy; seedlings are susceptible to damping off. Seedlings become established under a wide variety of conditions. Mineral soil seedbeds are best, but seeds germinate and survive in forest litter or among herbaceous plants [6,10]. Slippery elm sprouts readily from the stump or root crown. Seedlings produces sprouts from rhizomes. Slippery elm also reproduces by layering. Rootstocks of slippery elm are grafted to hybrid elms [10]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Slippery elm grows best on moist, rich soils of lower slopes, streambanks, river terraces, and bottomlands but is also found on much drier sites, particularly those of limestone origin. Examples of sites on which it is an important species are floodplains, terraces, and well-drained uplands in east-central Illinois; the northern Mississippi River floodplain; alluvial terraces in western Pennsylvania; lower ravine slopes and uplands in central New York. Slippery elm can persist on poorly drained soils that are occasionally flooded for periods of 2 or 3 months, but it does not reproduce or grow well if flooding is frequent or prolonged [2,10,14,25,34]. In addition to those species in SAF cover types, common associates of slippery elm include hickory (Carya spp.), box elder (Acer negundo), blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), black walnut (Juglans nigra), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), and honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) [5,9,22]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species. Slippery elm is one of the more shade-tolerant species [4]. It is much more tolerant than quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) but slightly less tolerant than sugar maple (Acer saccharum). Reproduction is erratic under fully stocked stands. In a river terrace forest in east-central Illinois, slippery elm was present in most size classes, but no seedlings were present. A nearby upland coppice, however, contained numerous slippery elm seedlings. Slippery elm is frequently a component of the subcanopy [10,20,29]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : The flowers open before the leaves, from February to May, depending on weather and location. Seeds ripen from April to June and are dispersed by wind and water as soon as they are ripe [10].


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fire rarely occurs in the moist areas where slippery elm typically grows. When fire does occur and conditions are dry, slippery elm decreases. Wind- and water-dispersed seed are important in the establishment of slippery elm following fire [5,10]. Young slippery elm will sprout from the root crown following top-kill by fire [1,28]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/root sucker Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Information regarding the fire effects on slippery elm is scant. Literature suggests that American elm is a fire decreaser [3,4,9]. Low- or moderate-severity fire top-kills American elm trees up to sapling size and wounds larger trees. Slippery elm is probably affected by fire in the same way due to its similiar morphology. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Young slippery elm sprouts from the root crown following fire [1]. The Research Paper by Bowles and others 2007 provides information on postfire responses of several plant species, including slippery elm, that was not available when this species review was originally written. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ulmus rubra
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Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 812-816. [20818] 11. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764] 12. Elias, Thomas S. 1970. The genera of Ulmaceae in the southeastern United States. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 51: 18-40. [11742] 13. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 14. Farrell, John D.; Ware, Stewart. 1991. Edaphic factors and forest vegetation in the piedmont of Virgina. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 118(2): 161-169. [15694] 14. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 16. 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St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 23 p. [13859] 20. Hill, John P.; Dickmann, Donald I. 1988. A comparison of three methods for naturally reproducing oak in southern Michigan. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry. 5(2): 113-117. [14482] 21. Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p. [3375] 22. Johnson, W. Carter. 1970. Trillium cernuum L. and Geranium maculatum L.: new for South Dakota. Rhodora. 72(792): 554. [19190] 23. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 24. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952] 25. Martin, Christian J.; MacMillan, Paul C. 1982. Seven years of forest succession in Happy Valley, Jefferson County, Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. 92: 197-206. [10369] 26. Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. 1953. Forest tree planting. 2d ed. Bull. No. R 1. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, Division of Reforestation. 68 p. [12130] 27. Ferguson, Dennis E.; Boyd, Raymond J. 1988. Bracken fern inhibition of conifer regeneration in northern Idaho. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 11 p. [2834] 28. Reuter, D. Dayton. 1986. Effects of prescribed burning, cutting and torching on shrubs in a sedge meadow wetland. In: Koonce, Andrea L., ed. Prescribed burning in the Midwest: state-of-the-art: Proceedings of a symposium; 1986 March 3-6; Stevens Point, WI. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin, College of Natural Resources, Fire Science Center: 108-115. [16278] 29. Smith, H. Clay; Rosier, Robert L.; Hammack, K. P.. 1976. Reproduction 12 years after seed-tree harvest cutting in Appalachian hardwoods. Res. Pap. NE-350. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 11 p. [10887] 30. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 31. Strole, Todd A.; Anderson, Roger C. 1992. White-tailed deer browsing: species preferences and implications for central Illinois forests. Natural Areas Journal. 12(3): 139-144. [19494] 32. Hodgkinson, Harmon S. 1975. Evaluation of winterfat in Washington. Journal of Range Management. 28(2): 138-141. [1174] 33. Swingle, Roger U. 1942. Phloem necrosis: A virus disease of the American elm. Circular No. 640. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 8 p. [4761] 34. Thomson, Paul M.; Anderson, Roger C. 1976. An ecological investigation of the Oakwood Bottoms Greentree Reservoir in Illinois. In: Fralish, James S.; Weaver, George T.; Schlesinger, Richard C., eds. Central hardwood forest conference: Proceedings of a meeting; 1976 October 17-19; Carbondale, IL. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University: 45-64. [3812] 35. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 1974. Wood handbook: wood as an engineering material. Agric. Handb. No. 72. Washington, DC. 415 p. [16826] 36. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 37. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707]

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