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A tree up to 80 ft high in nature, but in cultivation in England very slow-growing and forming a round-headed small tree; young shoots clothed with fine, soft, very short down; winter buds often in pairs. Leaves ovate to oblong, obliquely rounded or slightly heart-shaped at the base, bluntish or rounded at the apex, 3⁄4 to 2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, toothed (sometimes doubly), of firm rather hard texture, very harsh to the touch above, more or less downy beneath; stalk 1⁄12 to 1⁄8 in. long. Flowers produced in clusters in the leaf-axils in August and later. Samaras 1⁄3 in. long, oval, tapered at both ends, deeply notched at the top, downy all over, especially on the margin.
A native of the southern USA and northern Mexico, and said by Sargent to be the common elm tree of Texas. It was introduced to Kew through him in 1876, but grew slowly and sometimes died back in winter from the failure of the new growths to ripen. It evidently needs hotter summers than ours.