Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) is a large tree native to most of Europe, and in Britain, and was the by far the most common elm in the north and west of the country prior to the outbreak of Dutch elm disease to which it is very susceptible. The resultant population decline was extreme and and the Wych elm is now uncommon over much of its range.
It can be a large tree, reaching heights of 25-40 m tall and a trunk diameter of up to 2 m. It is notable for its very supple and bendable young shoots. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, simple ovate with a lop-sided base, 6-17 cm long and 3-12 cm broad; leaves on vigorous shoots are sometimes three-lobed at the apex. The flowers appear before the leaves in early spring, produced in clusters of 10-20 together; they are 3-4 mm across on 1 cm long stems, have no petals and are wind-pollinated. The fruit is a winged samara 2 cm long and 1.5 cm broad, with a single round 6 mm seed.
The word wych has its origins in Middle English wiche, from the Old English wice, meaning pliant or bendable, and which also gives us wicker and weak.
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