Ulmus minor


Ulmus::small    Minor::minor''    ''Ulmus::hybrid    Richens::dutch    Field::category    Species::trees

Ulmus minor Mill., the Field Elm, is by far the most polymorphic of the European species, although its taxonomy remains a matter of contention. Its natural range is predominantly south European, extending to Asia Minor and Iran; its northern outposts are the Baltic islands of Öland and Gotland,<ref>Ulmus minor in Gotland, Sweden:</ref> although it may have been introduced here by man. The tree's typical habitat is low-lying forest along the main rivers, growing in association with oak and ash, where it tolerates summer floods as well as droughts.<ref name=Heybroek,1>Heybroek, H. M., Goudzwaard, L, Kaljee, H. (2009). Iep of olm, karakterboom van de Lage Landen (:Elm, a tree with character of the Low Countries). KNNV, Uitgeverij. ISBN 9789050112819</ref>

Current treatment of the species owes much to Richens,<ref name=Richens>Richens, R. H. (1968). The correct designation of the European field elms. Feddes Repertorium 79: 1-2.</ref> who noted (1983) that several varieties of Field Elm are distinguishable on the European mainland. Of these, he listed the small-leaved U. minor of France and Spain; the narrow-leaved U. minor of northern and central Italy; the densely hairy leaved U. minor of southern Italy and Greece; the U. minor with small-toothed leaves from the Balkans; the U. minor with large-toothed leaves from the Danube region; and the small-leaved U. minor from southern Russia and the Ukraine.<ref>Richens, R. H., Elm (Cambridge 1983), p.18</ref> As for British varieties, "the continental populations most closely related" to eastern English Field Elm "are in central Europe", while south-western forms were introduced from France.<ref>Richens, R. H., Elm (Cambridge 1983), p.21</ref> He concluded, however, that owing to incomplete field-research at the time of writing, it was "not possible to present an overall breakdown of the European Field Elm into regional varieties".<ref>Richens, R. H., Elm (Cambridge 1983), p.88</ref>

Richens sank a number of British elms, notably English Elm, as either subspecies or varieties of U. minor in 1968. However, Melville,<ref name=Melville,a>Melville, R. (1978). On the discrimination of species in hybrid swarms with special reference to Ulmus and the nomenclature of U. minor (Mill.) and U. carpinifolia (Gled.). Taxon 27: 345–351.</ref> writing ten years later, identified five distinct species (including U. glabra in the count), several varieties and numerous complex hybrids. In 1992 Armstrong <ref name=Armstrong>Armstrong, J. V. & Sell, P. D. (1996). A revision of the British elms (Ulmus L., Ulmaceae): the historical background. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 120: 39–50.</ref> identified no fewer than forty British species and microspecies. Stace (1997) wrote of the British elms "The two-species (glabra and minor) concept of Richens is not sufficiently discriminating to be of taxonomic value". Nevertheless, it is Richens’ classification which has been the most commonly adopted in recent years, although it is not used in Flora Europaea [1].<ref name=Stace>Stace, C. A. (1997). New Flora of the British Isles. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press.</ref>

In 2009 Dr Max Coleman of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh wrote: "The advent of DNA fingerprinting has shed considerable light on the question. A number of studies have now shown that the distinctive forms Melville elevated to species and Richens lumped together as field elm are single clones, all genetically identical, which have been propagated by vegetative means such as cuttings or root suckers. This means that enigmatic British elms such as Plot Elm and English Elm have been shown to be single clones of Field Elm. Although Richens did not have the evidence to prove it, he was correct in recognising a series of clones and grouping them together as a variable species." <ref name="Max Coleman p. 22">Max Coleman, ed.: Wych Elm (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh publication, 2009; ISBN 978-1-906129-21-7); p. 22</ref>

It is hoped that analysis of molecular markers will ultimately eliminate the taxonomic confusion.

Ulmus minor sections
Intro  Description  Pests and diseases  Cultivation  Subspecies, varieties, and former species sunk as U. minor  Cultivars  Hybrids  Hybrid cultivars  Accessions  Nurseries   External links   [[Ulmus_minor?section=</a>_References_|</a> References ]]  

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