Zelkcova crenata--The Caucasian Zelkowa is a native of the country lying between the Black and the Caspian Sea between latitudes 35° and 47° of the north of Persia and Georgia. According to Loudon, it was introduced to this country in 1760, and it appears to have been planted both at Kew and Syon at about that date. A very full account of the history, etc., of the Zelkowa, from which Loudon largely quotes, was presented to the French Academy of Science by Michaux the younger, who speaks highly of the value of the tree. In this he is fully corroborated by Mirbel and Desfontaine, on whom devolved the duty of reporting on this memoir. They say that it attains a size equal to that of the largest trees of French forests, and recommend its being largely planted. They particularly mention its suitability for roadside avenues, and affirm that its leaves are never devoured by caterpillars, and that the stems are not subject, to the canker which frequently ruins the elm. The name Orme de Siberie, which is or was commonly applied to Zelkova crenata in French books and gardens, is doubly wrong, for the tree is neither an elm nor is it native of Siberia. In 1782 Michaux, the father of the author of the paper above mentioned, undertook, under the auspices, of a Monsieur (afterward Louis XVIII.), a journey into Persia, in order to make botanical researches.

Zelkowa Crenata 417 10b


"Having left Ispahan, in order to explore the province of Ghilan, he found this tree in the forests which he traversed before arriving at Recht, a town situated on the Caspian Sea. In this town he had opportunities of remarking the use made of the wood, and of judging how highly it was appreciated by the inhabitants." The first tree introduced into Europe appears to have been planted by M. Lemonnier, Professor of Botany in the Jardin des Plautes, etc., in his garden near Versailles. This garden was destroyed in 1820, and the dimensions of the tree when it was cut down were as follows: Height 70 feet, trunk 7 feet in circumference at 5 feet from the ground. The bole of the trunk was 20 feet in length and of nearly uniform thickness; and the proportion of heart-wood to sap-wood was about three quarters of its diameter. This tree was about fifty years old, but was still in a growing state and in vigorous health. The oldest tree existing in France at the time of the publication of Loudon's great work, was one in the Jardin des Plantes, which in 1831 was about 60 feet high.

It was planted in 1786 (when a sucker of four years old), about the same time as the limes which form the grand avenue called the Allee de Buffon. "There is, however, a much larger Zelkowa on an estate of M. le Comte de Dijon, an enthusiastic planter of exotic trees, at Podenas, near Nerac, in the department of the Lot et Garonne. This fine tree was planted in 1789, and on the 20th of January, 1831. it measured nearly 80 feet high, and the trunk was nearly 3 feet in diameter at 3 feet from the ground." A drawing of this tree, made by the count in the autumn of that year, was lent to Loudon by Michaux, and the engraving prepared from that sketch (on a scale of 1 inch to 12 feet) is herewith reproduced. At Kew the largest tree is one near the herbarium (a larger one had to be cut down when the herbarium was enlarged some years ago, and a section of the trunk is exhibited in Museum No. 3). Its present dimensions are: height, 62 feet; circumference of stem at 1 foot from the ground, 9 feet 8 inches; ditto at ground level, 10 feet; Height of stem from ground to branches, 7 feet; diameter of head, 46 feet.

The general habit of the tree is quite that as represented in the engraving of the specimen at Podenas. The measurements of the large tree at Syon House were, in 1834, according to Loudon: Height, 54 feet; circumference of of stem, 6 feet 9 inches; and diameter of head, 34 feet; the present dimensions, for which I am indebted to Mr. Woodbridge, are: Height, 76 feet; girth of trunk at 2½ feet from ground, 10 feet; spread of branches, 36 feet.

Zelkowa Crenata 417 10c

(Planera Richardi).


Zelkova crenata, Spach in Ann. des Sc. nat. 2d ser. 15, p. 358. D. C. Prodromus, xvii., 165 Rhamnus ulmoides, Güldenst. It., p. 313. R carpinifolius, Pall. Fl Rossica, 2 p. 24, tab. 10. Ulmus polygama, L C. Richard in Mem. Acad. des Sciences de Paris, ann. 1781. Planera Richardi, Michx. Fl. bor. Amer. 2, p. 248; C.A. Meyer, Enumer. Causas. Casp., n. 354; Dunal in Bulletin Soc. cent d'Agricult. de l'Herault. ann. 1841, 299, 303, et ann. 1843, 225, 236. Loudon, Arbor, et Frut. Brit., vol. 3, p. 1409. Planera crenata, Desf. Cat. Hort. Paris et hortul, fere omnium. Michaux fil. Mem. sur le Zelkowa, 1831. Planera carpinifolia, Watson, Dend. Brit., t. 106. Koch Dendrologie, zweit theil, sweit. Abtheil. p. 425.

Identification 417 10d


Showing peculiar habit of branching.
In old trees the effect is very
remarkable in winter as at Oxford,
Versailles (Petit Trianon)
and Syon.