Winged elm

Ulmus alata Michx.

Ulmaceae (Elm family)


Winged elm is a native, cool-season perennial tree that can reach 60 feet tall. This deciduous plant is most easily recognized by the corky wings on its branches and stems. The twigs and bark are reddish brown to gray brown.

The leaves of winged elm are simple and arranged alternately on the stems. They grow from 1/3 inch to 3 inches long. The leaf margin is doubly serrated.

The flowers of winged elm appear occur from February to April before the leaves appear. The fruit, which is winged for easy dispersal by wind, ripens in March and April.

The leaves are a medium-preferred browse of grazing animals, and the fruit is eaten by seed-eating birds.


Winged elm grows on a variety of soils along streams and in woodlands and thickets. This species also occurs as scattered trees in native and introduced pastures.