En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 29, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything about them. I have never seen it anywhere else or found any other references to it anywhere. The leaf is very small and looks just like a cedar elm leaf (i.e. Ulmus crassifolia). When mature, the tree will get to be about 12 feet tall. It has many cedar elm characteristics, only smaller. Have you ever heard of this? Is it considered a native? Thanks

ANSWER:

Many plant species will occasionally produce dwarf individuals.  Clever horticulturists recognize the market potential of naturally dwarfed plants and collect, asexually propagate, and introduce these unusual specimens to the nursery trade.  Some cultivars, like dwarf yaupon, Ilex vomitoria become mainstays of landscape design.  Others, may not.  Some dwarf plants are not especially attractive, Some lose their dwarf characteristics over time and "grow out of" their diminutive stature.  Some are inordinately difficult to propagate and thus, fall from favor with nurserymen.  Finally, some may be more susceptible to diseases than their full-size counterparts.

We have heard of nurseries offering dwarf cedar elms, Ulmus crassifolia from time to time, though we have never actually seen any of the plants.  However, we are a little skeptical about their horticultural value since they don't seem to remain on the market very long.  All of this to say we just don't know much about them.

Another dwarf elm is a non-native hybrid, Ulmus x hollandica 'Jacqueline Hillier'.  It is possible, though not so likely, that it has been marketed as a dwarf cedar elm.

 

More Trees Questions

Non-native, invasive Paulownia for San Marcos TX
April 24, 2012 - Can a Paulownia tree grow in San Marcos? If so were can I get one?
view the full question and answer

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Would like fast growing evergreen trees in Austin, TX.
October 31, 2012 - Hi, We're moving to Southwest Austin and would like to plant a cluster of pines (or cypress trees?) or other fast growing, large and tall evergreen trees. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Why is my Chinkapin oak losing its leaves this spring?
June 02, 2009 - We have a chinkapin oak that was planted about two years ago in our front yard. This year it leafed out nicely but about a month ago the leaves began to roll up, then dry out and fall off. It seems ...
view the full question and answer

Failure of flameleaf sumacs to produce fruit
January 09, 2013 - Our two flame leaf sumacs produce none to little fruit. Both are about 4 years old, quite large, healthy looking; flowering this year was very good, but no fruit. What keeps them from producing fruit?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center