Herb: Siberian Elm

Latin name: Ulmus pumila

Family: Ulmaceae (Elm Family)

Medicinal use of Siberian Elm:

The leaves are diuretic and febrifuge. They are used as a pot herb and are then said to be antibilious, antidote and lithontripic. The stem bark is demulcent, diuretic, febrifuge and lenitive. It is mixed with oil and vinegar then used as a poultice on abscesses, mastitis and swellings.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Dry sandy or stony soils, pebbles of river valleys, slopes and occasionally on rocks.

Edible parts of Siberian Elm:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Used as a potherb. Inner bark - cooked. It can be dried and made into noodles. The dried inner bark can also be ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups or added to cereal flours when making bread etc. Fruit - raw or cooked. Used when immature, it can be made into a sauce and a wine. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

A coarse cloth is made from the inner bark. A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting. Wood - hard, heavy, tough, difficult to split. Used for agricultural implements, boat making etc.

Propagation of Siberian 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:

Dry sandy or stony soils, pebbles of river valleys, slopes and occasionally on rocks.

Known hazards of Ulmus pumila:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.