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

 Native Plant Database

Ulmus crassifolia

Cedar elm, Fall elm, Basket elm, Scrub elm, Lime elm, Texas elm, Southern rock elm, Olmo

Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Ulmus crassifolia (Cedar elm)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Cedar elm is a large, oval-rounded tree growing 50-70 ft. high and 40-60 ft. wide. Bark is scaly and the drooping branches have corky ridges. Dark-green leaves are small and rough-textured. Leaves much smaller than those of the American Elm, Fall foliage is yellow except in the southern part of the range where it is evergreen. Tree with rounded crown of drooping branches and the smallest leaves of any native elm.

The common native elm in east Texas where it is planted for shade. Called Cedar Elm because of the rough, cedar scale-like texture of the leaves and because it is often found in the western part of its range with Ashe Juniper (Juniperus ashei), which is locally called cedar. The Latin species name means thick leaf.

Image Gallery:

37 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Crenate , Double-serrate
Leaf Apex: Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cuneate , Oblique , Rounded
Fruit Type: Samara
Size Notes: 30-60 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AR , FL , LA , MS , MO , OK , TN , TX
Native Distribution: TN & AR, s. to MS & TX
Native Habitat: Woodlands; ravines; open slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist to dry, alkaline soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type, Limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Cedar elm is a nicely-proportioned, hardy, drought tolerant shade tree for a broad range of soil types. It brings vivid yellow color to the landscape in autumn. No need to rake the small leaves—they compost nicely. Young trees have corky wings on their branches. The Mourning Cloak and Question Mark butterflies use it for larval food. Withstands drought and heavy, infertile soils. Susceptible to Dutch elm disease. Reasonably fast-growing. Known to cause severe allergy reactions.


Use Ornamental: Shade tree, Fast growing, Long-living, Fall conspicuous
Use Wildlife: Seeds-granivorous birds, Cover, Substrate-insectivorous birds, Nesting site, Browse, Seeds-Small mammals.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Mourning Cloak, Question Mark
Deer Resistant: No

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

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

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Mourning Cloak
(Nymphalis antiopa)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2015-10-13