Herb: Japanese Elm

Latin name: Ulmus davidiana

Family: Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Edible parts of Japanese Elm:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Young fruits - cooked. Inner bark - dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in soups or added to cereal flours when making bread etc.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Slopes, wetlands near streams and valleys at elevations of 2000 - 2300 metres.

Other uses of Japanese Elm:

A fibre is obtained from the inner bark. The bark is soaked for 7 - 10 days in water, the inner and outer barks are then separated and the inner bark is stripped into strands and made into thread by chewing it. It is made into a coarse fabric. Wood - heavy, difficult to work. Used for axles, hubs etc.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - if sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe, it usually germinates within a few days. Stored seed does not germinate so well and should be sown in early spring. The seed can also be harvested "green" (when it has fully developed but before it dries on the tree) and sown immediately in a cold frame. It should germinate very quickly and will produce a larger plant by the end of the growing season. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Plants should not be allowed to grow for more than two years in a nursery bed since they form a tap root and will then move badly. Layering of suckers or coppiced shoots.

Cultivation of Japanese Elm:

Slopes, wetlands near streams and valleys at elevations of 2000 - 2300 metres.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Ulmus davidiana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.