Elm-Tree, the Common, or Uimus campestris, L. an indigenous tree, growing chiefly in a loose soil of hedge-rows, and abounding in the more southern parts of this country; - its flowers have a plea-sant smell, similar to that of violets, and blow in the mont'i of April.
This wood may be propagated by the seed, and by layers or suckers taken from the roots of old trees : those raised from layers, always strike better roots, thrive more quickly than the other, and do not shoot forth so many suckers ; for which reason this method deserves to be more generally practised.
The elm naturally delights in a stiff, strong soil; where it grows Comparatively slow; but if it be planted in rich, light land, it ve-getates most luxuriantly. In the latter case, however, its wo id is light, porous, and of little value, compared with that produced on richer soils : the latter is of a closer and stronger texture, and possesses near the heart, the colour and almost the weight and hardness of iron. On such lands, therefore, the elm becomes very profitable, and is one of those deciduous trees, which ought to be industriously cultivated.
This beautiful tree is of great value : and well adapted for planting shady walks, as it does not destroy the grass, and its leaves are relished by horses, cows, goats, hogs, and sheep, all of which eat them eagerly. Its wood, being hard and tough, is used for making axle-trees, mill-wheels, keels of boats, chairs, and coffins: it is also frequently changed by art, so as completely to resemble mahogany; for this purpose, it is sawed into thick planks, stained with aqua-fortis. and rubbed over with a tincture, of which alkanet, alecs, and spirit of wine, are the principal ingredients'. This plant affords subsistence to a variety of insects that prey upon it, but more particularly to the aphis of the elm, which generally causes the leaves to curl, so as to make them a secure shelter against the weather. No effectual method of extirpating them has hitherto been devised. - Silk-worms devour the leaves with great avidity ; and, though we doubt whether they afford wholesome food to these in-sects, yet when alternately give or mixed with lettuce, elm-leaves may become an useful substitute, in situations where the mulberry-tree is scarce.
A decoction of the inner bark of the elm-tree, if drunk freely, has sometimes procured relief in inveterate dropsies. It has a bitterish taste, and abounds with a slimy juice, which is recommended in nephritic cases, and also externally as an useful application to burns. The outer bark is bitter, contains but little mucilage, and is totally destitute both of smell and taste. The internal bark of the branches is more bitter than that of the trunk, and is, probably on that account, more efficacious. — It is chiefly used for cutaneous complaints, such as the herpes, or shingles, and the leprosy.