The Slippery Elm is a deciduous tree reaching 10-20 m tall and 50 cm trunk diameter. The leaves are 10-18 cm long, with a rough texture, coarsely double-serrate margin and an oblique base. The flowers are produced before the leaves in early spring, in clusters of 10-20; the fruit is an oval winged samara 2 cm long containing a single seed in the center. Slippery Elm may be distinguished from American Elm by the hairiness of the buds and twigs (American Elm has smooth buds and twigs), and by the flowers being very short-stalked.
Slippery Elm prefers to moist, rich uplands, but will grow well in dry intermediate soils as well.
Slippery Elm is a valuable tree which has many different uses.
The inner bark can be ground into a nutrient-rich gruel. One can survive on this gruel alone for a relatively short period.
The outer bark is a strong and durable fiber, which can be spun into thread. It can be used for bow strings, ropes, clothing, snowshoe bindings, woven mats, and even some musical instruments.
The wood is used for the hubs of wagon wheels, as it is very shock resistant, due to the wood's inter-locking grain. It is also used for making bows, as it is both strong and flexible.
Other useful herb information: Garcinia Cambogia | Hawthorn Berries | Barberry | Mentha | Beeswax | Kelp | Aloe
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