scots elm

The south-west entrance to Russell
Square. The Scots elm is on
the right.

Trees of London

Russell Square

Wych Elm or Scots Elm

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              Sadly the Scot's elm in Russell Square was felled during the winter of 2008-2009, and so some of what is written below is not applicable. Let this page remain as a homage to what is becoming an increasingly rare tree in London.

              Entering the square by the entrance at the south-west corner, this is on the opposite side of the square from Southampton Row, just down from the statue, you will see two interesting looking trees to either side of the gate. The one on the right hand side, as you enter, is a weeping ash. The one on the left, closest to the gate, is a Scots elm, and this is something of a rarity, because this type of tree was severely affected by Dutch elm disease, and not many of them survived.

              Take a good look at the leaves, because they are typical elm leaves. Apart from noticing their unusual shape, if you look closely, you will see that the ribs do not meet at the middle; this is one of the signs that what you are looking at might be an elm. I refer to this as the Scots elm, but really, like all native British trees, and this is one of those for you to tick off your list, it is not unique to Britain. More commonly, it is known as the wych elm.

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Other Trees at Russell Square

yew      holm oak

cherry     holly

Russell square

Tree Identification

Ulmus glabra:

leaf: alternate; veins: alternate; asymetrical, one side usually bigger than other particularly at the base; toothed margin. Scots elm leaf
scots elm seeds

nuts/fruit: flat, light, translucent, seed can be seen within; arrnaged in clusters..


April; small purple; arrive before the leaves.
Scots elm bark bark:
grey,brown; ridged.
grows to 40 metres; tall, rounded crown.
general: a native tree, but quite rare due to Dutch elm disease.

click below for photos of a wych elm tree, including its flower.

First tree to the left of the
south-west entrance.
Marked purple on map.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©