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Hairy-fruited Glaucescent Elm
Shrub or tree to 18 m. Bark longitudinally fissured. Branchlets glabrous or pubescent, without wings or a corky layer. Leaves deciduous, 2.5–5 × 1.5–3 cm, elliptic to ovate, though shape extremely variable, both surfaces pubescent with tufts of hair in the forkings of the secondary veins, but never in the vein axils, 6–12(–14) secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins serrate or double-serrate, apex acuminate; petiole 0.3–0.8 cm long, pubescent. Inflorescences produced on second-year branches; fascicled cymes. Perianth campanulate, four-lobed, glabrous or margins ciliate. Samaras tan, elliptic to obovate, 2–2.5 × 1.5–2 cm, densely pubescent when young, with scattered hairs when mature, perianth persistent; seed positioned in centre or towards the apex. Flowering and fruiting March to May (China). Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003. Distribution CHINA: Hebei, Henan, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, eastern Qinghai, Shanxi. Habitat Along river and mountain slopes, between 2500 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 5. Conservation status Not evaluated. Taxonomic note Ulmus glaucescens var. glaucescens does not appear to be in cultivation. It has glabrous samaras and occurs in Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, eastern Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong and Shanxi.
Interest in Ulmus glaucescens stems principally from its apparent tolerance of arid conditions, but it is extremely rare in cultivation. It forms part of the research collection at the Morton Arboretum, and is grown by Sunshine Nursery in Oklahoma (where it can suffer heavy damage from Elm Leaf Beetle); there is also a specimen at the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden near Adelaide, South Australia (Wikipedia 2008b). All these are derived from seed sent from the Beijing Botanical Garden. Horticulturally, U. glaucescens is probably most desirable for its very attractive bark, which is mottled in grey and fawn, with reddish brown lenticels. The specimen observed at the Morton Arboretum in 2006 was multistemmed, with a dense canopy of scabrid dull green leaves.