This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Flowers appearing in Spring before or with the leaves, usually all perfect; fruit 2-celled, winged all round. Perianth 4- to 9-lobed. Stamens 4 to 9. The species are widely dispersed. The ancient Latin name.
1. U. montana. Wych or Scotch Elm. - A large indigenous tree attaining a height of 120 feet, with spreading branches and large ovate-oblong doubly-serrate acuminate leaves. Fruit produced sparingly; seed in the centre of the oblong or orbicular samara. The forms named major, glabra, stricta, etc., are referred to this species, and there are many other varieties in cultivation, including one with exceedingly handsome ample foliage and pendulous brandies. The forms called plumosa and filicifolia also appear to belong to this species. The former is very robust, and has very large distichous leaves, whilst in the latter they are deeply pinnatihd. The Wych Elm is considered to be indigenous in North Britain and throughout temperate Europe and Siberia.
2. U. campestris. Common Elm. - This differs from the last in its smaller foliage, more erect habit, and usually greater profusion of fruits, though it rarely ripens its seed. Seed above the centre of the obovate or oblong samara. U. sube-rbsa and a host of other varieties are considered as belonging here, but the great diversity both in foliage and habit renders it difficult to assign some of them to their proper place. Amongst some of the most striking we may mention: Berardi, of slender habit and very small foliage; fastigiata, an erect-growing form with small foliage; and microphylla pendula, with slender drooping branches and small leaves. Besides these there are some slender variegated forms, both erect and pendulous, and edged or blotched with silver or gold; but they are too numerous to be included here, and as the names they bear in nurseries usually describe their peculiarities it is unnecessary. Although now very common, this is supposed to be an introduced tree in Britain, coming from the South and centre of Europe.
Two or three of the American species are met with in some collections, the commonest of which is U. Americana. This has large abruptly acuminate obovate or oblong leaves, pedicellate flowers in dense fascicles, and ciliate glabrous fruits. U. alata, another American species, has corky winged branches; and U. racemosa has racemose flowers.