Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Elm flowers

We lived in Warwickshire for a few years in the early 1970s and one of my abiding memories of the landscape there was of magnificent elm trees which, in spring, were covered in a haze of carmine red flowers. Dutch elm disease felled almost all the mature elms but hedgerow shrubby elm trees are still common throughout the country, sprouting from the roots of the old trees. 

We found these elms flowering along the river Wear near Wolsingham in Co. Durham yesterday, where there are a few that are reaching tree proportions and have grown to  about 12 metres tall. It will be interesting to see how well these specimens survive and whether they attract the attention of the bark beetle that carries the Dutch elm disease fungus.

Elm is still a common species, albeit in shrub rather than tree form, because it regenerates new shoots from its roots, even though it produces no viable seeds. It will be interesting to see whether ash trees regenerate shrubby growth in the same way once ash dieback disease takes hold..............

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