Tabletop elm

Orme 'Horizontalis'

Ulmus glabra 'Horizontalis'Ulmaceae (elm family)

Origin: Scotland (cultivated variety)


Tabletop Scotch elm is a small cultivated tree with a weeping crown.

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Leaves are short-stalked and oval with a pointed tip and asymmetrical base.

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Flowers are small and inconspicuous.

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Fruit is an oval, light green, hairless, samara (winged fruit), with a notch at the tip.

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Tabletop elm is a small tree with a weeping crown. It does not reach the normal height of Scotch elm.

Bark is brownish-grey and smooth.

The grafting line where the cultivar has been attached to the rootstock can usually be seen.

Twigs are reddish-brown, hairy, and zig-zagged.

Buds are hairy, triangular, 5 - 7 mm (about 1/4") long.

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Leaves are oval, 8 - 16 cm (3" - 6") long, with a pointed tip often flanked on one or both sides by an enlarged tooth or "horn". The base is asymmetrical, the larger side often covering the short stalk.

Prominent straight veins, some of which are forked, terminate in the tips of the double teeth on the leaf edge. The upper leaf surface is very rough; the underside hairy.

Leaves have an alternate arrangement on the branch.

In the fall, leaves turn yellow or brown.

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Flowers are tiny, borne in small clusters.

Flowers have no petals.

Flowers open in early spring before the leaves expand.

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Fruit is a one-seeded samara (winged fruit), 20 - 25 mm (3/4" - 1") long, borne on a short stalk. Fruits are flat, pale green, hairless, with a notch at the tip.

Fruits are borne in dense clusters.

Fruits turn brown and drop in summer.

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About this cultivar

Tabletop Scotch elm is a cultivated variety of Scotch elm (Ulmus glabra) bred for its low height and drooping, wide crown. It is often grafted onto a taller rootstock of Scotch elm to provide the opportunity for the pendulous branches to hang down, forming an umbrella. It was developed in the early 19th century or earlier.

Derivation of names

The genus name Ulmus is derived from the Saxon word for elms. The species name glabra means smooth or hairless referring to the tree's smooth bark and fruit. The varietal name 'Horizontalis' describes the spreading horizontal growth habit.

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Tabletop-elm IN TORONTO

Tabletop Scotch elm's place in Toronto's urban forest

This small novelty tree is sometimes planted in formal situations in the city's parks and cemeteries.

Landscape value and potential for home use

Tabletop elm is a small tree with a weeping habit that is suitable for small spaces. It is quite common for nurseries to sell the 'Horizontalis' cultivar as Camperdown elm which is a different variety. 'Horizontalis' is not as susceptible to Dutch elm disease as Camperdown elm.

Pests and diseases: Dutch elm disease is a fungus transported by beetles that arrived in North America in the 1920's and by the 1960's had nearly decimated the native elm population. For more information see the Natural Resources Canada factsheet.

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WHERE CAN I SEE Tabletop-elm?

Find trees on Tree Tour maps at Canadian Tree Tours:

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