Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

U. chinensis.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chinese Elm
Ulmus parvifolia

Fairly resistant to maritime exposure, it can be grown in a shelter belt[K].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are antidote and lithontripic[218].

    The stem bark is demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypnotic and lithontripic[178, 218].

    The flowers are used in the treatment of fevers and neuritis[218].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[105, 177].

    Immature fruits, used just after they are formed – raw or cooked[105, 132]. An aromatic, unusual flavour, leaving the mouth feeling fresh and the breath smelling pleasant[132]. It contains about 34.4% protein, 28.2% fat, 17% carbohydrate, 5% ash[132].

    Inner bark – cooked. A mucilaginous texture[105, 177]. No more details are given but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – if sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe, it usually germinates within a few days[200]. Stored seed does not germinate so well and should be sown in early spring[200]. One to two months stratification can improve germination rates. The seed can also be harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it dries on the tree) and sown immediately in a cold frame. It should germinate very quickly and will produce a larger plant by the end of the growing season[80]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Plants should not be allowed to grow for more than two years in a nursery bed since they form a tap root and will then move badly. Layering of suckers or coppiced shoots[200].
Easily grown in any soil of at least moderate quality so long as it is well drained[1]. Fairly tolerant of maritime exposure, it succeeds outdoors in a very exposed position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall[K]. Resistant to ‘Dutch elm disease’, a disease that has destroyed the greater part of all the elm trees growing in Britain. The disease is spread by a beetle. There is no effective cure (1992) for the problem, but most E. Asian, though not Himalayan, species are resistant (though not immune) to the disease so the potential exists to use these resistant species to develop new resistant hybrids with the native species[200]. The various species hybridize freely, the pollen stores well and can be kept for use with species that flower at different times[200]. Trees retain their leaves until early in the new year[11] and in areas with mild winters will often retain them until new leaves are formed in the spring[188]. A good companion for grapes[18]. There are some named forms, developed for their ornamental value. ‘Frosty’ and ‘Geisha’ are small bushes whilst ‘Pumila’ is a minute bush for the rock garden.
E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.