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The trees / Elm - Wych Elm - Ulmus glabra

The tree

The elm is a common tree in all of south Sweden, up to Mälaren, but can also be found in scattered populations all the way up to Lapland. On Öland and Gotland there are lundalm and vresalm in addition to the common Wych elm, ulmus glabra.

The leaves are rough on the upper surface and soft on the other side, the green fruits winged with a single round seed in the centre. Young trees have smooth grey bark, old ones course, fissured bark.

The elm demands light and requires rich, deep soils. They reach heights of 25 – 30, sometimes up to 40 meters. Lately many elms have been killed by the Dutch elm decease, a fungal disease spread by the elm bark beetle.

The wood

The sap wood is yellow – light yellow and the heartwood light to dark brown. It is difficult to split and is durable, tough and hard. It has been used for wheel hubs, mill wheels, tool handles, furniture, and wooden floors and for details in boatbuilding.

Did you know that:

  • The innermost, thinner bark has been used for making ropes.
  • Bark bread was baked from the inner bark; bark from elm was the preferred bark for bark bread in the south of Sweden.
  • Inner bark from twigs was used as bandages.
  •   An elm tree in front of the house gave protection from evil powers.
  • The first woman, according to Old Norse mythology, was created from an elm tree.


Alm, virke / Elm, wood

Alm, löv / Elm, leaf

Alm / Elm