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Tree to 18 m, 0.8 m dbh. Bark dark grey, greyish brown or greyish black, scabrous, longitudinal fissures somewhat irregular. Branchlets grey, pubescent when young, with pale yellow lenticels, no wings, sometimes with a fissured corky layer. Leaves deciduous, 2–9 × 1.7–5.5 cm, obovate to elliptic, upper surface pubescent along the midrib when young, sparsely pubescent along secondary veins when young, 9–19 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins double-serrate, apex acute to acuminate; petiole 0.5–1.2 cm long, glabrous or pubescent. Inflorescences produced on second-year branches; fascicled cymes. Perianth campanulate, four-lobed, glabrous. Samaras tan, ± circular, 1.1–1.6 × 0.9–1.3 cm, glabrous, perianth persistent; seed positioned in centre. Flowering and fruiting February to March (China). Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003. Distribution CHINA: Anhui, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, central Sichuan, Zhejiang. Habitat Forests. USDA Hardiness Zone 4–5. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003.
This elm is of interest to the breeding project at the Morton Arboretum because of its similarity in shape to U. americana, and has been used for artificial crosses there (Ware 2000). It seems to be reasonably DED-resistant (Smalley & Guries 2000), and specimens at Sunshine Nursery, Oklahoma showed no signs of damage by Elm Leaf Beetle, but some insect had caused heavy leaf damage to trees seen at the Morton Arboretum in June 2006. The leaves are glossy dark green above but paler below, and can look somewhat sombre, making it appear rather dull. Material was first received at the Morton in 1984, and one tree from this had reached about 10 m in height by 2006; further accessions came in 1995. It is hardy, but has rather fragile wood, so is subject to wind damage. It needs a well-drained site (Ware 1995c). A specimen originating as seed from Shanghai Botanic Garden has grown at the Hillier Gardens since 1993 and is now 4.4 m tall; another forms part of the elm collection at Brighton.