What types of elms are found in Cornwall?
Last updated: 07/09/2012
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Elms are particularly difficult to identify and there has been
much confusion in their naming over the years. It is not possible
to go into a great amount of scientific detail here. There are
however a number of species/varieties found in Cornwall including
the Dutch elm with its characteristic corky bark on the young
The distinctive "Cornish Elm" (Ulmus stricta) with its erect
leafy branches and small leaves was once the dominant hedgerow tree
in many parts of Cornwall. It was especially noticeable in exposed
coastal areas where it was often the only tree to be found.
Davey's elm (Ulmus daveyi), which looks like a hybrid between
the native wych elm and the smooth-leaved elm (of which 'Cornish
Elm' is a variety) is to be found in some parts of the County,
notably around Gulval, Newquay, the Roseland and St Kew. Although,
like all elms, it is susceptible to elm disease it does appear to
be more resistant to the disease than many other varieties and many
mature trees survive even today.
The European White elm (Ulmus laevis) was planted in a few
locations as an ornamental tree and mature specimens survive today
near Calstock, Torpoint and Truro.
Most elm varieties are clones. Indeed Cornish Elms across
Cornwall, Devon and Brittany (from where it is thought to have been
introduced to Cornwall in the Roman or Anglo Saxon periods) have
been shown to be genetically identical. This has undoubtedly led to
their susceptibility to elm disease.