Herb: Japanese Elm

Latin name: Ulmus japonica

Synonyms: Ulmus davidiana japonica, Ulmus propinqua

Family: Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Medicinal use of Japanese Elm:

The bark is diuretic, nervine and purgative.

Description of the plant:


35 m
(115 feet)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Slopes, waterlands near stream and in valleys below 2000 - 2300 metres.

Edible parts of Japanese Elm:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Young fruits - cooked. The fruit is about 15mm long and 10mm wide. Inner bark - cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups or added to cereal flours when making bread etc.

Other uses of the herb:

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 Japanese Elm:

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 the herb:

Slopes, waterlands near stream and in valleys below 2000 - 2300 metres.

Known hazards of Ulmus japonica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.