Wych elms were once one of the most popular trees in the United States. Their dense canopies grew over the sidewalks of countless suburban neighborhoods. Today, they are rarely grown in America because of the decimation brought on by Dutch elm disease.
These majestic trees can reach heights of up to 100 feet and can pollinate themselves. The Wych elm’s flowers develop into small, winged fruits called samaras. With seeds centered inside each, their samars whirl like helicopters from the branches to the ground.
Despite the English elm’s name, the Wych elm is the only elm that is a true native of the British Isles. The name wych, is not derived from the word witch, but from the Middle English word for pliable wood. The Wych elm’s wood is still prized today by carpenters for its unique coloring and marks. They are rarely found as large trees in the wild, but often seen as hedgerows around the United Kingdom.