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Ulmus angustifolia (West.) West.

Goodyer's Elm

Modern name

Ulmus minor Mill.


U. campestris var. angustifolia West.; U. stricta var. goodyeri Melville

This elm has a limited distribution in England near the Hampshire coast south of the New Forest, and has also been reported from Brittany. From the Cornish elm (see below) it differs in the rounded crown, in the leaves of the short shoots having a broader base, and serrations with up to three secondary teeth; the petiole is slightly longer in relation to the length of the blade. For Dr Melville’s interesting account of Goodyer’s elm see Journ. Bot. (Lond.), Vol. 76 (1938), pp. 185-92. It was originally described by Thomas Goodyer in Johnson’s edition of Gerard’s Herball (1636) from plants that he had collected in September 1624 between Lymington and Christchurch and transferred to his garden at Mapledurham House near Petersfield. His phrase-name Ulmus minor folio angusto scabro does not at first sight agree with the Hampshire elm, but Dr Melville has pointed out that the leaves on sucker-shoots and saplings are indeed narrow and rough to the touch above and only slowly give way to the smooth and broader adult type of leaf. Goodyer’s trees, about 1 ft high when he collected them, were 10 to 12 ft high in 1633 when he made his observations and would still be bearing the juvenile type of foliage.

For the name U. angustifolia, which is founded on Goodyer’s phrase-name, see R. Melville, ‘The Names of the Cornish and the Jersey Elms’, Kew Bulletin, Vol. 14 (1960), pp. 216-8.

var. cornubiensis (West.) Melville U. campestris var. cornubiensis West.; U. campestris var. stricta Ait.; U. stricta (Ait.) Lindl.; U. nitens var. stricta (Ait.) Henry; U. carpinifolia var. cornubiensis (West.) Rehd. Cornish Elm. – A tree 80 to 100 ft high, of slender form, the upper branches ascending, the lower spreading; young shoots more or less hairy. Leaves of firm texture, somewhat concave above, narrowly to broadly obovate, cuneate and not markedly unequal at the base, 2 to 212 in. long, 1 to 112 in. wide, dark green, smooth and glossy above, paler beneath, with conspicuous tufts of down in the axils of the veins, marginal teeth rather blunt, entire or with up to two secondary teeth; veins in ten to twelve pairs; petiole about 38 in. long. Samaras obovate to orbicular, up to 58 in. long and 12 in. wide, with the seed situated near the notch.

A native mainly of Cornwall, but extending into Devon and south Dorset. It suckers freely, but does not often bear perfect fruit.

U. angustifolia × U. glabra. – This hybrid occurs within the area of U. angustifolia. It resembles the wych elm (U. glabra) in habit, and often in size, but the shoots are more slender and less hairy, and the leaves are intermediate in size and shape (Melville in Stace, ed., op. cit., p. 293).

U. ‘Sarniensis’. Jersey or Wheatley Elm. – This is similar in many respects to the Cornish elm, but its branches are more stiffly erect and the tree more tapered; the leaves are proportionately broader, their serrations have one to three secondary teeth, and the axil-tufts are smaller. (U. sarniensis Lodd., nom. nud.; U. campestris var. sarniensis (Lodd.) Loud.; U. campestris wheatleyi Simon-Louis Cat. 1869; U. stricta var. sarniensis (Lodd.) Moss; U. nitens var. wheatleyi (Simon-Louis) Henry; U. carpinifolia var. wheatleyi (Simon-Louis) Bean; U. carpinifolia f. sarniensis (Lodd.) Rehd.).

The Jersey elm occurs in the Channel Islands, and has been cultivated on the mainland of Britain since the early 19th century, if not earlier. Dr Moss and Helen Bancroft both suggested that it was a hybrid, though they did not agree as to the parentage. In Dr Melville’s view it is a pyramidal form of a variable hybrid (U. × sarniensis) between U. angustifolia and U. × hollandica, occurring not only in the Channel Islands but also in adjacent parts of France, and in Cornwall, south Devon and Kent. Since in his view U. × hollandica is a triple hybrid (U. carpinifolia × U. plotii × U. glabra) the Jersey elm would have four species in its parentage. Other authorities, however, consider it to be no more than a pyramidal form of the common field elm. Indeed, if all taxonomic views are taken into account the cultivar name ‘Sarniensis’ could appear in four different combinations, each nomenclaturally correct, and it therefore seems best to place the name directly under Ulmus.

U. ‘Dicksonii’ (‘Wheatleyi Aurea’). – A compact, slow-growing tree with golden-yellow leaves, retaining their colour well. Raised by Messrs Dickson of Chester in 1900 and distributed by them as ‘Golden Cornish Elm’ (U. × sarniensis ‘Dicksonii’ Hillier’s Manual).

U. ‘Purpurea’. – A medium-sized tree with a dense crown. Leaves tinged with purple when young, mostly upfolded along the midrib, to 212 in. long on the short-shoots, larger and somewhat scabrid on extension shoots, irregularly toothed. An elm of uncertain status. It was received at Kew as U. montana purpurea. Henry judged it to be a hybrid, but rather confusingly transferred it to U. campestris (procera). More recently the Dutch authority F. J. Fontaine has suggested that it is a hybrid between U. glabra and the Cornish elm, a view which approaches that of Messrs Hillier, who place it under U. × sarniensis in their Manual (U. montana purpurea Hort. ex Henry; U. campestris purpurea Kirchn. sec. Henry; ? U. scabra [f]. U. purpurea K. Koch; ? U. × dippeliana f. purpurea (Kirchn.) Schneid.; U. × hollandica ‘Purpurascens’ Fontaine, not U. procera f. purpurascens (Schneid.) Rehd.; U. × sarniensis ‘Purpurea’ Hillier’s Manual).



Other species in the genus