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The Himalayan Elm Ulmus wallichiana Planch., also known as the Kashmir Elm', is a mountain tree ranging from central Nuristan in Afghanistanmarker, through northern Pakistanmarker and the Kashmirmarker, to western Nepalmarker at elevations from 800 m to 3000 m. Although dissimilar in appearance, its common name is occasionally used in error for the Cherry Bark Elm Ulmus villosa, which is also endemic to the Kashmir, but inhabits the valleys, not the mountain slopes. The species is closely related to the Wych Elm U. glabra.


Photo: Matthew Ellis
The Himalayan Elm grows to 30 m tall, with a broad crown featuring several ascending branches. The bark of the trunk is greyish brown and longitudinally furrowed. The leaves are elliptic-acuminate, 13 cm long and 6 cm broad on petioles 5 mm - 10 mm long. The samarae are usually orbicular, 13 mm in diameter .

Pests and diseases

The tree has a high resistance to the fungus Ophiostoma himal-ulmi endemic to the Himalayamarker and the cause of Dutch elm disease there. However U. wallichiana was found to be one of the most preferred elms for feeding and reproduction by the adult elm leaf beetle Xanthogaleruca luteola [274131] and feeding by the Japanese Beetle Popillia japonica Miller, F., Ware, G. and Jackson, J. (2001). Preference of Temperate Chinese Elms (Ulmuss spp.) for the Feeding of the Japanese Beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 94 (2). pp 445-448. 2001. Entom. Soc.of America. [274132] in the USAmarker. Tests in Italy confirmed the American findings, and also determined a moderately high susceptibility to Elm Yellows.

Cultivation and uses

The tree was investigated as a suitable source of anti-fungal genes for use in the Dutch hybridization programme in 1960, with the result that a frost-resistant variety was selected for propagation and breeding in the Netherlands. Endemic to an impoverished region with no fossil fuel resources, U. wallichiana is heavily lopped for firewood, and also for fodder, leaving it in danger of extermination in some areas. Elsewhere however, it has been deliberately planted near villages and farmhouses. Recognizing its predicament, efforts have been made in India to conserve the tree by drying the seeds and placing them in refrigerated storage . A species of considerable commercial potential, research has also been undertaken into optimal propagation methods .

The tree is grown in several arboreta in the UKmarker, but by far the largest collection is held by Brighton & Hovemarker City Council, the NCCPG elm collection holder, which has some 60 specimens, including the British Isles champions in school grounds at Rottingdeanmarker. The tree tends to be rather short-boled in Brighton & Hove, and readily defoliates in times of drought.

There are no known cultivars of this taxon, nor is it known to be in commerce.


The tree is named for the Danish botanist Nathaniel Wallich.

Subspecies & varieties

There are two subspecies, wallichiana and xanthoderma, and a variety tomentosa identified by Melville & Heybroek , distinguished largely by variations in pubescence of the leaves and young stems.


Hybrid cultivars

U. wallichiana was crossed with the Exeter Elm U. glabra 'Exoniensis' in the Netherlands in the 1950s to create Clone 202. This clone was to form an essential component of the Dutch elm breeding programme in the 1960s and 1970s Heybroek, H. M. (1983). Resistant Elms for Europe. In Burdekin, D. A. (Ed.) Research on Dutch elm disease in Europe. For. Comm. Bull. 60. pp 108 - 113 Heybroek, H. M. (1993). The Dutch Elm Breeding Program. In Sticklen & Sherald (Eds.) (1993). Dutch Elm Disease Research, Chapter 3. Springer Verlag, New York, USA . Selfed or hybridized with U. minor or earlier Dutch hybrids, its progeny include 'Clusius', 'Dodoens', 'Lobel', and 'Plantyn'. 'Plantyn' was in turn to play a vital part in the third generation of Dutch hybrids; two selfed specimens were selected and released as 'Columella' and, much later, 'Wanoux' , while 'Plantyn' itself was crossed with U. 'Bea Schwarz' to create 'Nanguen' , arguably the most successful Dutch elm cultivar released to date. 'Plantyn' was also selected for use in the Italian elm breeding programme that started in the 1970s, and was crossed with varieties of the Siberian Elm U. pumila to create a number of hardy trees renown for their rapid upright growth: 'Arno', 'Plinio', and 'San Zanobi'.


North America


  1. Melville, R. & Heybroek, H. (1971). The Elms of the Himalaya. Kew Bulletin Vol. 26(1). Royal Botanic Garden Kew, London
  2. Miller, F. and Ware, G. (2001). Resistance of Temperate Chinese Elms (Ulmuss spp.) to Feeding of the Adult Elm Leaf Beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 94 (1): 162-166. 2001. Entom. Soc.of America.
  3. Mittempergher, L. & Santini, A. (2004). The History of Elm Breeding. Invest. Agrar.: Sist Recur For. 2004 13 (1), 161-177.
  4. Maunder, M. (1988). Plants in Peril, 3. Ulmus wallichiana (Ulmaceae). Kew Magazine. 5(3): 137-140. Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, London.
  5. Heybroek, H. M. (1963). Diseases and lopping for fodder as possible causes of a prehistoric decline of Ulmus. Acta Botanica Neerlandica 12, (1963), p. 1-11.
  6. Phartyal, S., Thapliyal, J., Nayal, J. & Joshi, G. (2003). Seed storage physiology of Himalayan Elm (U. wallichiana): an endangered tree species of tropical highlands. Seed Science & Technology Vol. 31. International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
  7. Thakur, I.K. (1999). Vegetative propagation studies in ELM (Ulmus wallichiana planch)- A tree of high economic value. Journal of Non-Timber Forests Products, 6(1/2): 71-73. Department of Tree Improvement & Genetic Resources, Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry, Nauni, Solan 173230, H.P., India.
  8. Melville, R. & Heybroek, H. (1971). The Elms of the Himalaya. Kew Bulletin Vol. 26(1). Royal Botanic Garden Kew, London
  9. Johnson, Owen (ed.) (2003). Champion Trees of Britain & Ireland. Whittet Press, ISBN 9781873580615.

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