Winged Elm (Ulmus alata)

Height: 40 to 90 feet

Evergreen/Deciduous: Deciduous

Lifespan: Unclear; potentially 100 years or more

Fall Foliage: Yellow to orange; not especially spectacular fall color

Range: The southeastern United States from east Texas to Virginia, found inland to Missouri and Illinois  

Typical Habitat: Adaptable, but grows best with plenty of sun exposure

The Winged Elm: A Low-Key Member of the Forest   

Because they’re related to the larger slippery (Ulmus rubra) and American elms (Ulmus americana), winged elms rarely receive as much attention. However, they’re still important trees, which deserve respect and interest.

Also known as the wahoo, the winged elm is an attractive tree, with a form that’s sometimes described as “lacy.” It produces large quantities of seeds, which are important food sources for birds and small mammals, and its twigs and leaves are eaten by deer.   

Winged Elm Identification: Tips & Tricks

Winged elms are often pretty easy trees to identify, especially once you has seen several individuals. Their leaves – like those of other elms – have uneven bases and teeth around the edge. However, they’re much smaller than the leaves of slippery or American elms.

But it is the numerous corky “wings” found along the tree’s young branches that are the easy characteristic to consider. Indeed, this even allows for identification in the winter, once the leaves have fallen.

The Winged Elm: Additional Information

Has the wahoo sparked your curiosity? Learn more about this great elm by checking out these resources:

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