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What types of elms are found in Cornwall?
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 twigs.
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.