Ulmus pumila
Midwest Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant
Common Name: Siberian elm 
Type: Tree
Family: Ulmaceae
Native Range: Eastern Siberia, northern China, Turkestan
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 50.00 to 70.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 70.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Reddish-green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.


Grow in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of light shade. Prefers rich, moist loams. Adapts to both wet and dry sites. Tolerant of poor soils. Generally tolerant of urban conditions. Freely self-seeds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ulmus pumila, commonly called Siberian elm, is a fast-growing, weak-wooded, deciduous tree that typically grows to 50-70’ tall with broad upright habit. In the wild, it is sometimes seen in a shrubby form. It is primarily found in moist soils along streams from eastern Siberia to China. It was once widely planted in the U. S. because of its toughness, rapid growth, ability to thrive under arduous growing conditions and resistance to Dutch elm disease. Insignificant small reddish flowers appear in spring before the foliage emerges. Flowers give way to single-seeded wafer-like samaras (each tiny seed is surrounded by a flattened circular papery wing). Seeds mature in April-May as the leaves reach full size. Elliptic to oblong leaves (to 2-3” long) are smooth dark green above and glabrous beneath, with acuminate tips, serrate margins and nearly symetrical bases. Leaves typically turn an undistinguished dull yellow in fall.

Genus name comes from the Latin name.

Specific epithet means dwarf in reference to the small leaves and sometimes small shrubby habit.


Branches are weak-wooded, brittle and easily damaged by strong winds and winter ice/snow. Resistant but not immune to Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis. Various wilts, rots, cankers and leaf spots may occur. Elm leaf beetles may significantly damage the foliage. Other insect visitors include borers, leaf miner, beetles, mealy bugs, caterpillars and scale.


Siberian elm is not recommended for landscape use today because of its weak, easily damaged limbs and branches, its susceptibility to numerous insect and disease pests, and its general lack of ornamental interest. It could be effectively grown in poor soils, as a windbreak, or along slopes for erosion control where ornamental features are not an issue.