Weeping Elm

Ulmus glabra var pendula

The tree shown here is beside the river near Chelsea Bridge gate. It is easily recognised by its weeping habit and bright green bunches of seeds in the early spring. Elms flower remarkably early and produce eye-catching clusters of lime green seeds which are often confused for leaves.

The leaves come later. The tree has less contorted branched than its close relation the Camperdown weeping elm, and the leaves have a more herring bone arrangement. It was originally discovered in a nursery in Perth but is now common in parks and churchyards.

Its parent is the Scotch or Wych elm, a rather tough elm found further north than most. Elm wood is pliable and resistant to splitting. These characteristics
account for its traditional use in making coffins, wheelbarrows and riders’ switches. The later apparently gives good luck to the rider, but not the horse.