Friday puzzle untangled

A few of you bravely hazarded guesses about this plant, and while it is a contorted specimen, it’s actually Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’, otherwise known as Camperdown elm.  Here’s a photo of a lovely example at Marymoor Park near Seattle:

As plant geeks already know, this odd tree was propagated from a mutant branch discovered on the Earl of Camperdown’s estate in Scotland in the 1800s.  All Camperdown elms are grown from cuttings originating from this single tree grafted onto a Ulmus spp. rootstock which supplies the straight trunk.

Though these trees don’t get terribly tall, they can become quite broad and need space for their tiers of foliage.  Like other contorted trees, the branches of old Camperdown elms can meet and fuse, as you can see in the photo from Friday.  And while the tree produces scads of seeds (that’s what you see in the photo above – not leaves!), they are sterile. 

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

4 thoughts on “Friday puzzle untangled”

  1. Cool tree, no doubt, but “commonly used in landscapes” might be a bit of an overstatement – at least it is in the mid Atlantic states. You west coast people make me jealous 🙂

  2. Sorry, Paul! It is a relatively hardy tree (USDA zone 4). It is not happy without summer irrigation, however, so it does best in managed conditions. Give it a shot!

  3. Va Tech has (had?) a terrific specimen by their library and I think Longwood Gardens has a beautiful one at the base of their hillside garden, but those are the only two I’ve seen.

    BTW – did you ever figure out what that mystery desert plant was? The one with the brown buds…

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