Ulmus minor 'Monumentalis'

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Ulmus minor 'Monumentalis'
Edinburgh RBG- Ulmus No.2A.jpg
'Monumentalis' Rinz, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (1989)
Species Ulmus minor
Cultivar 'Monumentalis'
OriginRinz, Frankfurt

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Monumentalis', the tomb elm (Grabmal-Rüster), [1] was raised as a sucker of U. suberosa by Sebastian Rinz, the city gardener of Frankfurt, and described as U. campestris var. monumentalisRinz, 'Pyramid Field Elm', by Kirchner (1864), who said it had only recently been propagated by Rinz and established in the nursery. [2] It was distributed from the 1880s by the Baudriller nursery, Angers, [3] and by the Späth nursery, Berlin, as U. campestris monumentalisRinz., appearing separately in their catalogues from U. minor 'Sarniensis', the Guernsey or Wheatley Elm, [4] [5] [6] with which, according to Henry, it was confused on the continent. [7] Krüssmann, for example, gives 'Monumentalis' as a synonym of 'Sarniensis'. [8] 'Sarniensis' is known as monumentaaliep [:monumental elm] in The Netherlands. [9] [10] Springer noted that the Dutch monumentaaliep was "not the actual monumentaaliep (U. glabraMill var. monumentalisRinz) but U. glabraMill.var. Wheatleyi Sim. Louis", and that it "should be renamed U. glabraMill. var. monumentalisHort.(non Rinz)". [11] In England, Smith's of Worcester listed Ulmus monumentalis separately from Ulmus 'Wheatley' in the 1880s. [12]


Rinz gave his tree the name 'Monumentalis' for its columnar form, [13] and (according to Beissner) because the parent tree stood near the Monument of the Landgrave of Hesse (Hessenmonument) on the former glacis, which is now (1889) located in the city at Frankfurt. [14] The German name 'Tomb Elm' may have arisen from the tree's similarity in form to cypress, a burial-ground tree in parts of Europe.


Kirchner (1864) described 'Monumentalis' as a pyramidal field elm with a few upright main branches and numerous weak, short side-branches. The small, very rough leaves form a dark green foliage "that appears to hug the trunk". [2] 'Monumentalis' was described by Beissner (1904) as a columnar form of suberose field elm with short, crowded, contorted branches and dense, often twisted black-green leaves, a tree of "a very peculiar monstrous appearance". [15] Rinz reported that tree did not grow tall. [13] Some nurseries referred to it as a "dwarf" elm. [16] [17] Henry described it as "a columnar tree with a few upright main branches and numerous short twigs bearing dense crowded dark green leaves". [7] [18] Späth's catalogue likewise described the tree as having a dense upright shape. [4]

Heike in Die Gartenkunst (1908) described 'Monumentalis' as "strictly pyramidal", and 'Wheatleyi' ('Sarniensis') as "similar, but [with] a wider, loose crown." [19]

Pests and diseases

Field Elm cultivars are susceptible to Dutch elm disease, but, if not grafted, often survive through root-sucker regrowth. Chevalier noted (1942) that 'Monumentalis' Rinz was one of four European cultivars found by researchers in The Netherlands to have significant resistance to the earlier strain of Dutch elm disease prevalent in the 1920s and '30s, the others being 'Exoniensis', 'Berardii' and 'Vegeta'. The four were rated less resistant than U. foliacea clone 23, from Spain, later cultivated as 'Christine Buisman'. [20]


No examples are known, but a non-grafted field elm cultivar would be expected to survive through root-suckering. One tree was planted in 1893 as U. campestris monumentalis at the Dominion Arboretum, Ottawa, Canada. [21] Three specimens were supplied by Späth to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) in 1902 as U. campestris monumentalis. One was planted in the garden proper (see 'Putative specimens'); the other two, or regrowth from them, may survive in Edinburgh, as it was the practice of the Garden to distribute trees about the city (viz. the Wentworth Elm); [22] the current list of Living Accessions held in the Garden per se does not list the plant. [23]

U. campestris monumentalis appeared separately from U. campestris sarniensis in the early 20th-century catalogue of the Ryston Hall arboretum, Norfolk. [24] Introduced to the USA, it appeared in the 1904 catalogue of Kelsey's, New York, and in the 1909 catalogue of the Bobbink and Atkins nursery, Rutherford, New Jersey, in separate entries from Wheatley Elm, as U. monumentalis, 'Monumental Elm', "a small variety, slow and dense of growth". [25] [26] An U. campestris monumentalis had appeared in the catalogues of the Mount Hope Nursery (also known as Ellwanger and Barry) of Rochester, New York, as early as 1871. [27] In 1898 the nursery described their 'Monumentalis' as "a dwarf" and "conical in habit". [28]

A suckering, narrow-pyramidal or columnar elm resembling a wild cypress (about 11 m), with dense upright branching and small dark-green leaves, that stood on the azalea lawn in RBGE till the 1990s (tree C2713), [29] was probably one of Späth's three 1902 'Monumentalis'. Melville renamed it U. carpinifolia × U. plotii × U. glabra in 1958. [30] The leaves were pilose above and rather distorted, the lower surface with a zone of dense hair towards the base of the midrib. [31] The tree was one of the first RBGE elms into leaf.

Putative specimens

A stand of young, narrow, slow-growing, dense-foliaged, suckering field elm, with 'Monumentalis'-like leaves, below the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh (2020), may be regrowth from one of the specimens from Späth. Aerial photographs from the 1980s show a tree on this site similar in appearance and size to the RBGE specimen. [32] Calton Hill was described by Robert Louis Stevenson as "a hill of monuments", a sobriquet perhaps relevant to the planting-location of this cultivar.

Related Research Articles

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Stricta Elm cultivar

The field elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Stricta', known as Cornish elm, was commonly found in South West England and Brittany until the arrival of Dutch elm disease in the late 1960s. The origin of Cornish elm in England remains a matter of contention. It is commonly assumed to have been introduced from Brittany. It is also considered possible that the tree may have survived the ice ages on lands to the south of Cornwall long since lost to the sea. Henry thought it "probably native in the south of Ireland". Dr Max Coleman of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, arguing in his 2002 paper on British elms that there was no clear distinction between species and subspecies, suggested that known or suspected clones of Ulmus minor, once cultivated and named, should be treated as cultivars, preferred the designation U. minor 'Stricta' to Ulmus minor var. stricta. The DNA of 'Stricta' has been investigated and the cultivar is now known to be a clone.

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Sarniensis Cultivar of the field elm

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Sarniensis', known variously as Guernsey Elm, Jersey Elm, Wheatley Elm, or Southampton Elm, was first described by MacCulloch in 1815 from trees on Guernsey, and was planted in the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens in the 1820s. It was listed in the Loddiges catalogue of 1836 as Ulmus sarniensis and by Loudon in Hortus lignosus londinensis (1838) as U. campestris var. sarniensis. The origin of the tree remains obscure; Richens believed it "a mutant of a French population of Field elm", noting that "elms of similar leaf-form occur in Cotentin and in northern Brittany. They vary much in habit but some have a tendency to pyramidal growth. Whether the distinctive habit first developed on the mainland or in Guernsey is uncertain."

<i>Ulmus</i> Exoniensis Elm cultivar

Ulmus 'Exoniensis', the Exeter elm, was discovered near Exeter, England, in 1826, and propagated by the Ford & Please nursery in that city. Traditionally believed to be a cultivar of the Wych Elm U. glabra, its fastigiate shape when young, upward-curving tracery, small samarae and leaves, late leaf-flush and late leaf-fall, taken with its south-west England provenance, suggest a link with the Cornish Elm, which shares these characteristics.

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Atropurpurea' [:dark purple] was raised from seed at the Späth nursery in Berlin, Germany, circa 1881, as Ulmus montana atropurpurea, and was marketed there till the 1930s, being later classed as a cultivar by Boom. Henry (1913) included it under Ulmus montana cultivars but noted that it was "very similar to and perhaps identical with" Ulmus purpureaHort. At Kew it was renamed U. glabraHuds. 'Atropurpurea', but Späth used U. montana both for wych elm and for some U. × hollandica hybrids, so his name does not necessarily imply a wych elm cultivar. The Hesse Nursery of Weener, Germany, however, which marketed 'Atropurpurea' in the 1950s, listed it in later years as a form of U. glabraHuds..

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Propendens Elm cultivar

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Propendens', described by Schneider in 1904 as U. glabra (:minor) var. suberosa propendens, Weeping Cork-barked elm, was said by Krüssmann (1976) to be synonymous with the U. suberosa pendula listed by Lavallée without description in 1877. Earlier still, Loudon's Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum had included an illustration of a pendulous "cork-barked field elm", U. campestris suberosa. An U. campestris suberosa pendula was in nurseries by the 1870s.

<i>Ulmus</i> Berardii Elm cultivar

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Berardii', Berard's Elm, was raised in 1865, as Ulmus Berardi, from seeds collected from large specimens of "common elm" growing on the ramparts at Metz, by an employee of the Simon-Louis nursery named Bérard. Carrière (1887), the Späth nursery of Berlin and the Van Houtte nursery of Gentbrugge regarded it as form of a Field Elm, listing it as U. campestris Berardii, the name used by Henry. Cheal's nursery of Crawley distributed it as Ulmus nitens [:Ulmus minor] 'Berardii'. Smith's of Worcester preferred the original, non-specific name, Ulmus 'Berardii'.

<i>Ulmus</i> Koopmannii Elm cultivar

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Koopmannii' was cloned from a specimen raised from seed sent from Margilan, Turkestan by Koopmann to the Botanischer Garten Berlin c. 1880. Noted in 1881 as a 'new elm', it was later listed by the Späth nursery, catalogue no. 62, p. 6. 101, 1885, as Ulmus Koopmannii, and later by Krüssmann in 1962 as a cultivar of U. minor. Margilan is beyond the main range of Ulmus minor. Augustine Henry, who saw the specimens in Berlin and Kew, believed Koopmann's Elm to be a form of Ulmus pumila, a view not shared by Rehder of the Arbold Arboretum. Ascherson & Graebner said the tree produced 'very numerous root shoots', which suggests it may be a cultivar of U. minor. Until DNA analysis can confirm its origin, the cultivar is now treated as Ulmus 'Koopmannii'.

The Wych Elm cultivar Ulmus glabra 'Corylifolia Purpurea' was raised from seed of 'Purpurea' and described as U. campestris corylifolia purpurea by Pynaert in 1879. An U. campestris corylifolia purpurea was distributed by the Späth nursery of Berlin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Hesse Nursery of Weener, Germany, corrected the U. campestris corylifolia purpurea of their 1930s' lists to U. glabraHuds.corylifolia purpurea by the 1950s. Green listed 'Corylifolia Purpurea' as a form of U. glabra.

<i>Ulmus glabra</i> Nana Elm cultivar

The dwarf wych elm cultivar Ulmus glabra 'Nana', a very slow growing shrub that with time forms a small tree, is of unknown origin. It was listed in the Simon-Louis 1869 catalogue as Ulmus montana nana. Henry (1913), referring his readers to an account of the Kew specimen in the journal Woods and Forests, 1884, suggested that it may have originated from a witch's broom. It is usually classified as a form of Ulmus glabra and is known widely as the 'Dwarf Wych Elm'. However, the ancestry of 'Nana' has been disputed in more recent years, Melville considering the specimen once grown at Kew to have been a cultivar of Ulmus × hollandica.

The Elm cultivar Ulmus 'Tiliaefolia' was first mentioned by Host in Flora Austriaca (1827), as Ulmus tiliaefolia [:linden-leaved]. The Späth nursery of Berlin distributed a 'Tiliaefolia' from the late 19th century to the 1930s as neither an U. montana hybrid nor a field elm cultivar, but simply as Ulmus tiliaefolia, suggesting uncertainty about its status. Herbarium specimens appear to show two clones, one smaller-leaved and classified as a field elm cultivar, the other larger-leaved.

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Argenteo-Marginata' was first mentioned by Deegen in Deutsches Magazin für Garten- und Blumenkund (1879), as Ulmus campestris elegans foliis argenteo-marginatis. An U. campestris fol. argenteo-marginataHort. was distributed by the Späth nursery, Berlin, from the 1890s to the 1930s.

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Viminalis Pulverulenta Elm cultivar

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Viminalis Pulverulenta' (:'powdery'), also known as 'Viminalis Variegata', a variegated form of U. minor 'Viminalis', was first mentioned by Dieck, in 1885 as U. scabra viminalis pulverulentaHort., but without description. Nursery, arboretum, and herbarium specimens confirm that this cultivar was sometimes regarded as synonymous with U. minor 'Viminalis Marginata', first listed in 1864, which is variegated mostly on the leaf margin. It is likely, however, that 'Pulverulenta' was the U. 'Viminalis Variegata', Variegated Twiggy-branched elm, that was listed and described by John Frederick Wood, F.H.S., in The Midland Florist and Suburban Horticulturist 1847 and 1851, pre-dating both Kirchner and Dieck. Wood did not specify the nature of the variegation.

<i>Ulmus</i> × <i>hollandica</i> Wentworthii Pendula Elm cultivar

Ulmus × hollandica 'Wentworthii Pendula', commonly known as the Wentworth Elm or Wentworth Weeping Elm, is a cultivar with a distinctive weeping habit that appears to have been introduced to cultivation towards the end of the 19th century. The tree is not mentioned in either Elwes and Henry's or Bean's classic works on British trees. The earliest known references are Dutch and German, the first by de Vos in Handboek tot de praktische kennis der voornaamste boomen (1890). At about the same time, the tree was offered for sale by the Späth nursery of Berlin as Ulmus Wentworthi pendulaHort.. The 'Hort.' in Späth's 1890 catalogue, without his customary label "new", confirms that the tree was by then in nurseries as a horticultural elm. De Vos, writing in 1889, states that the Supplement to Volume 1 includes entries announced since the main volume in 1887, putting the date of introduction between 1887 and 1889.

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Suberosa Elm cultivar

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Suberosa', commonly known as the Cork-barked elm, is a slow-growing or dwarf form of conspicuously suberose Field Elm. Of disputed status, it is considered a distinct variety by some botanists, among them Henry (1913), Krüssmann (1984), and Bean (1988), and is sometimes cloned and planted as a cultivar. Henry said the tree "appears to be a common variety in the forests of central Europe", Bean noting that it "occurs in dry habitats". By the proposed rule that known or suspected clones of U. minor, once cultivated and named, should be treated as cultivars, the tree would be designated U. minor 'Suberosa'. The Späth nursery of Berlin distributed an U. campestris suberosa alataKirchn. [:'corky-winged'] from the 1890s to the 1930s.

<i>Ulmus minor</i> Viminalis Elm cultivar

The Field Elm cultivar Ulmus minor 'Viminalis' (:'willow-like'), occasionally referred to as the Twiggy Field Elm, was raised by Masters in 1817, and listed in 1831 as U. campestris viminalis, without description. Loudon added a general description in 1838, and the Cambridge University Herbarium acquired a leaf specimen of the tree in 1866. Moss, writing in 1912, said that the Ulmus campestris viminalis from Cambridge University Herbarium was the only elm he thought agreed with the original Plot's elm as illustrated by Dr. Plot in 1677 from specimens growing in an avenue and coppice at Hanwell near Banbury. Elwes and Henry (1913) also considered Loudon's Ulmus campestris viminalis to be Dr Plot's elm. Its 19th-century name, U. campestris var. viminalis, led the cultivar to be classified for a time as a variety of English Elm. On the Continent, 'Viminalis' was the Ulmus antarcticaHort., 'zierliche Ulme' [:'dainty elm'] of Kirchner's Arboretum Muscaviense (1864).

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Turkestanica' was first described by Regel as U. turkestanica in Dieck, Hauptcat. Baumschul. Zöschen (1883) and in Gartenflora (1884). Regel himself stressed that "U. turkestanica was only a preliminary name given by me; I regard this as a form of U. suberosa" [:U. minor ]. Litvinov considered U. turkestanicaRegel a variety of his U. densa, adding that its fruits were "like those of U. foliaceaGilibert" [:U. minor].

<i>Ulmus</i> Glabra Elm cultivar

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Glabra' was distributed by the Späth nursery, Berlin, in the 1890s and early 1900s as U. glabraMill.. Not to be confused with the species U. glabraHuds..

The field elm cultivar 'Punctata' ['spotted', the leaf] first appeared in the 1886–87 catalogue of Simon-Louis of Metz, France, as U. campestris punctata. It was distributed by the Späth nursery, Berlin, in the 1890s and early 1900s as U. campestris punctataSim.-Louis, the Späth catalogue listing it separately from U. campestris fol. argenteo-variegata and from U. campestris fol. argenteo-marginata. Green considered it possibly a synonym of the Field Elm cultivar 'Argenteo-Variegata'.

<i>Ulmus glabra</i> Concavaefolia Elm cultivar

The Wych Elm cultivar Ulmus glabra 'Concavaefolia', a form with up-curling leaves, was listed in Beissner's Handbuch der Laubholz-Benennung (1903) as Ulmus montana cucullataHort. [:'hooded', the leaf], a synonym of the Ulmus scabraMill. [:glabraHuds.] var. concavaefolia of herbarium specimens. An Ulmus campestris cucullata, of uncertain species, had appeared in Loddiges' 1823 list, but Loudon's brief description (1838) of concave- and hooded-leaved elms was insufficient for later botanists to distinguish them. The earliest unambiguous description appears to be that of Petzold and Kirchner in Arboretum Muscaviense (1864).

<i>Ulmus glabra</i> Superba Elm cultivar

The wych elm cultivar Ulmus glabraHuds. 'Superba', Blandford Elm, with unusually large leaves, was raised by Gill's of Blandford Forum, Dorset, in the early 1840s as Ulmus montana superba and was quickly distributed to other UK nurseries. It was confirmed as a form of wych, and first described, by Lindley in The Gardeners' Chronicle, 1845, later descriptions being added by Gill (1845) and Morren (1848), who called it U. montana var. superba. Morren had adopted the name 'Superba' from the Fulham nurseryman Osborne in 1844, who supplied him with the tree – presumably one of the nurseries supplied by Gill. Morren states that 'Superba', already in cultivation in England, was introduced to Belgium by Denis Henrard of Saint Walburge, Liège, that in 1848 it had been present in Belgium for only three years, and that this variety was the one described as 'Superba' by Osborne, whom Henrard had visited at his nursery in Fulham in September 1844. 'Blandford Elm', with leaves of the same dimensions, was soon for sale in the USA.


  1. Schmidlin, Eduard; Nietner, Theodor; Rümpler, Theodor (1875). Schmidlin's Gartenbuch. p. 221. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. 1 2 Petzold; Kirchner (1864). Arboretum Muscaviense. p. 554.
  3. Baudriller Établissement d'Horticulture (1880). Catalogue général descriptif et raisonné des arbres fruitiers, forestiers & d'ornement cultivés dans l'établissement. Angers. p. 116.
  4. 1 2 Katalog (PDF). 108. Berlin, Germany: L. Späth Baumschulenweg. 1902–1903. pp. 132–133.
  5. Späth, L., Catalogue 143 (1910-11; Berlin), p.134-135
  6. Späth, Ludwig (1930). Späth-Buch, 1720-1930. Berlin: Self published. pp. 311–313, 351–352.
  7. 1 2 Elwes, Henry John; Henry, Augustine (1913). The Trees of Great Britain & Ireland. 7. pp. 1891–1892.
  8. Krüssmann, Gerd, Manual of Cultivated Broad-Leaved Trees & Shrubs (1984 vol. 3), p.404
  9. Amsterdamse Iepen, bomeninfo.nl
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  12. 'Standard Ornamental Trees' in Forest, hardy ornamental trees, conifers, etc., Richard Smith & Co., Worcester, catalogue 1887–88, p.27
  13. 1 2 K. Koch, Wochenschrift des Vereines zur Beförderung des Gartenbaues, Vol.15, Berlin, 4 May 1872 p.140
  14. H. Jäger, L. Beissner, Die Ziergehölze der Gärten und Parkanlagen (Weimar 1889), p.400n.
  15. Beissner, L., Mitteilungen der Deutschen dendrologischen gesellschaft (Bonn, 1904), p.140
  16. Ellwanger & Barry's general catalogue; Mount Hope nurseries, 1890; p.49
  17. Illustrated and descriptive catalogue of fruit and ornamental trees, Perry Nursery Co., Rochester, N.Y., 1912, p.90
  18. Green, Peter Shaw (1964). "Registration of cultivar names in Ulmus". Arnoldia. Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. 24 (6–8): 41–80. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  19. Die Gartenkunst, X,3, p.51
  20. "Les Ormes de France" (PDF). Revue de botanique appliquée et d'agriculture coloniale. 22 (254): 441. 1942.
  21. Saunders, William; Macoun, William Tyrrell (1899). Catalogue of the trees and shrubs in the arboretum and botanic gardens at the central experimental farm (2 ed.). pp. 74–75.
  22. Accessions book. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. 1902. pp. 45, 47. Accession numbers E00824706, E00824707, E00824708.
  23. "List of Living Accessions: Ulmus". Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  24. Ryston Hall Arboretum catalogue. c. 1920. pp. 13–14.
  25. General catalogue, 1904 : choice hardy trees, shrubs, evergreens, roses, herbaceous plants, fruits, etc. New York: Frederick W. Kelsey. 1904. p. 18.
  26. Bobbink and Atkins nursery, Rutherford, New Jersey , 1909 catalogue, p.51
  27. 'Descriptive Catalogue of Ornamental Trees & Shrubs', no.2, Mount Hope Nursery, Rochester, 1871; p.6
  28. Ellwanger & Barry, Mount Hope Nurseries, Rochester, 1898 catalogue; p.61
  29. Distant photograph in Deni Bown, Four Gardens in One: The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Edinburgh 1992), p.73
  30. RBGE Cultivated Herbarium Accessions Book: October 1958 notes by Ronald Melville on specimen C2713, azalea lawn
  31. Description from RBGE, February 2018
  32. Macdonald, Angus and Macdonald, Patricia, Above Edinburgh and South East Scotland (Edinburgh 1989), p.73, p.75