Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Ulmus alata

Winged elm, Wahoo elm, Cork elm, Witch elm

Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Ulmus alata (Winged elm)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Winged elm grows 30-40 ft. high with spreading branches that form a round-topped, oblong head. Opposite corky ridges occur on the branches in one plane. Dark-green leaves alternate, ovate, oblique, doubly serrate, acuminate, small. Leaves may turn dull yellow in fall. Fruit a samara, brown.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the fibrous inner bark was made into rope for fastening covers of cotton bales. The common and Latin species names refer to the distinctive broad, corky wings present on some twigs; Wahoo was the Creek Indian name.

Image Gallery:

33 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Oblanceolate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Double-serrate
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Base: Cordate , Oblique
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: To 24 m tall.
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MS , MO , NC , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: S. VA to s. IL, c. MO & KS, s. to c. FL, OK & s.e TX
Native Habitat: Stream banks; woods; thickets

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Variety of soils; best on terraces and bottomlands; may be somewhat weedy; fast growing; medium-lives.
Conditions Comments: Easily propagated from seed. Root Hormone is recomended for cuttings. Sometimes planted as a street tree in the southern states. Susceptible to Dutch elm disease. Often infected with powdery mildew.


Use Ornamental: Fast growing, shade tree, attractive.
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nesting site, Substrate-insectivorous birds, Seeds-granivorous birds, Seeds-Small mammals, Leaves-rabbit, Browse.
Use Medicinal: Indians seeped inner bark bark for diarrhea and to ease childbirth.
Use Other: Bark fibers woven into baskets and rope.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Question Mark butterfly.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Ulmus alata is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Question Mark
(Polygonia interrogationis)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2015-10-13