Ulmus plotii

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaUlmaceaeUlmusUlmus plotii


A distinctive narrow tree formerly lending a characteristic appearance to the landscape in its native area, where it occurs in hedgerows and field-borders. It is particularly common on neutral to base-rich soils in the English E. Midlands, mostly in moist, deep-soiled river valleys. Lowland.



World Distribution


Broad Habitats

Boundary and linear features (eg hedges, roadsides, walls)

Light (Ellenberg): 5

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.4

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16

Annual Precipitation (mm): 667

Life form information

Height (cm): 2000

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Mega-, meso- and microphanerophyte



Clonality - primary

Clones formed by suckering from roots

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 128

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Distribution information

JNCC Designations


Scarce Atlas Account

Scarce Atlas Account: 

Ulmus plotii Druce

Plot's elm

Status: scarce


This elm is typically a constituent of lowland hedgerows and shelter belts. It is believed by some authorities to be endemic in the flood plains of the river systems in the North Midlands of England, and to have been spread elsewhere by artificial means. When closely trimmed, it is indistinguishable from several other typical hedgerow elms, but it becomes identifiable when allowed to grow untrimmed for several years. 

Regeneration from seed in the wild has not yet been proved, but it has been raised from seed in botanic gardens and arboreta. Well grown trees flower freely in most years and produce crops of fruit. Suckers are produced in the wild, but not as freely as in other elms, and it is only conjectural that this is an effective means of propagation, or of regeneration after trees have been felled.

Many authorities believe it capable of hybridisation with other British taxa, but doubt whether this occurs freely in the wild, or that its products survive in significant numbers. However, it is one possible explanation of the comparative scarcity of U. plotii even before the outbreak of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. Fewer than 50 populations are known to have survived that outbreak, and of those only four or five contain mature trees. Vegetative propagation probably accounts for the remainder, and the grubbing out of hedges after the felling of diseased trees for a significant proportion of those that have not survived.

It is not known to occur in the wild outside Great Britain.

The oldest authenticated records date from 1910, but it was misunderstood until Melville's (1940) account of it. For an account of this species, see Richens (1983).


K. G. Messenger

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Coleman M, Hollingsworth ML, Hollingsworth PM
2000.  Application of RAPDs to the critical taxonomy of the English endemic elm Ulmus plotii Druce. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 133:241-262.
Melville R
1940.  Contributions to the study of British elms, III. The Plot Elm, Ulmus plotii Druce. Journal of Botany. 78:181-192.
Richens RH
1983.  Elm.
Stewart A, Pearman DA, Preston CD
1994.  Scarce plants in Britain.