Ulmus glabra


  • Alm (S)
  • Elm (E)
  • Ulme (D)
  • l´orme (F)
  • Olmo (E)

Area of distribution

  • Elm grows in Central Europe, the British Isles and in Caucasia.
    In Finland there are two naturally growing, though rare, sort of elm.
  • Mountain elm (Ulmus glabra) is a rare sort of wood in continental Finland. Fluttering elm (Ulmus laevis) grows naturally by flooding lakesides in Southern Finland.


  • Mountain elm thrives in a nutritious, moist and clayey grove.
  • Its’ habitats are warm hillsides in groves and luxuriant banks of creek.
  • Mountain elm stands light shadow and it is not vulnerable to frost but it cracks easily when temperatures are below zero.

Growth characteristics

  • Fluttering elm may grow 30 meters tall and the diameter of the base over one meter. Mountain elm grows 40 meters tall and three meters wide on the base.
  • The foliage of elm grows upward as a wide, bushy and imposing crown.
  • Because the wide roots are near the surface and it has a tap root the elm stands storms well.
  • The trunk is often short and the boughs branch out already at 5 meters high.
  • Because of their big size and handsome features the elms are popular avenue trees in the Middle Europe.
  • Elm grows either as a solitary tree or small woods.
    Elm reproduces normally from the boles because the seeds germinate poorly.
  • A good quality elm has an upright trunk, has no branches on the base and the thickness at breast height is at least 35 cm.

Properties of timber

  • The sapwood and heartwood of elm area very clearly separable from each other.
  • The sapwood is light yellowy and the heartwood is brown and it weathers some on the effect of air.
  • After drying the timber of elm is durable. The timber has to be dried slowly to avoid cleaves.
  • The timber of elm is hard, heavy and tough and it stands rotten well.
  • As a material the wood is very decorative and has strong patterns. It is used for instance in the veneer of furniture.
  • The roots of elm give the most beautiful veneer.
  • It is easy to work with and finish.
  • Air dried timber weights 650 kg/m3.

Surface treatment

The wood specimens have been surface treated as such:

  • Left, water-based acrylic lacquer
  • Center, no treatment
  • Right, two component catalystlacquer or oil

Tangential cut



  • Elm is used for furniture, parquet, stairs and butt stocks.
  • It is also the raw material for impressive decorative and utility articles.
  • In the past elm was used for furniture, axle, pair of steps, mill-wheel and keel.