Leaf of the Day: Why Winged, Elm?

I picked this up on Sunday from a little tree which grows by a nearby lake. It’s the twig from a winged elm tree, Ulmus alata. I have walked by this tree many times but only now, without its leaves can you see its true character. The winged branches are really strange and it seems that it grows wings on its wings and they contort and twist in fantastic way. A fairytale tree from the dark side. It looks as though it should be prickly but isn’t. What I cannot find out is the answer to my question .. why? Why does it have these strange growths and what is their function?

The structure of the branches is really fabulous and if I were a flower arranger I would have to have some of them to hand. The trunk of the tree is equally knobbly and interesting.

There are a few buds beginning to form and one or two leaves venturing out. It is also known as the Cork elm and the Wahoo, which is the Creek Indian name for this little tree. It has a fibrous inner bark which was once made into rope for the binding covers of cotton bales.
I will be looking forward to these seeds….

Lovely photo from Clinton Nature Centre here

I went down to Gardens this morning and just walked and walked in the beautiful sunshine and wandered in and out of the citrus grove where the heavenly smell of lemon blossom lay heavy on the air, a nostalgic reminder of the orange groves of Andalucia. So many dainty things are in blossom just now, spring is such a pretty time isn’t it?
Then it was nice just to sit and draw … more framing and writing tomorrow.


Winged Elm twig