Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hemiptelea davidii

A small tree, reaching up to 45 ( often much less ) feet, that is native to northern China, Korea and Japan where it is rare. It is the single member of the Hemiptelea genus which is related to the Elms. Some records include: largest on record - 50 x 42 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 feet; largest on Pennsylvania - 46 x 42 feet at Haverford College near Philly; largest in North Carolina - 34 feet. It is also known to grow in Rockford Illinois and another large tree grows at Public Museum in Reading. It makes an interesting tree but can also be used as a barrier hedge.
The alternately-arranged, cordate, coarsely-toothed, elliptical leaves, up to 4 x 1.3 inches, are deep green, turning to red during autumn. The foliage remembles that of the Zelkova. The tender young leaves make a great beverage.
The small whitish flowers are not very showy.
The yellowish-green, winged fruits, up to 0.3 inches in length, are borne during early autumn.
The purplish-brown stems bear long Hawthorn-like thorns up to 4 ( rarely over 2 ) inches in length.
The bark is grayish-brown.
Hardy zones 3 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on acidic or alkaline, deep, moist, well drained loamy soil. It is likely resistant to Dutch Elm Disease.
Seed should be sown immediately upon ripening in a cold frame.

* photos taken on July 17 2010 @ Morris Arboretum, Philly, PA

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