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Vanishing Acts: Anhui Elm

By Renee Hutchison

Anhui Elm Photo Credit: Morton Arboretum
Anhui Elm
Photo Credit: Morton Arboretum

The Anhui elm, Ulmus gaussenii or Hairy Elm, is a large, stately tree with a lovely open crown, much like our native American Elm. Anhui elm is the rarest and most endangered elm species, as there are very few in cultivation and only 30 trees remaining in the wild. Native to the Anhui region of China, this species grows in the valleys of limestone mountains in deciduous forests along river banks. This endangered elm only grows on approximately 24 acres of land in the Langya Hills.
Because the population of the Anhui elm is so small, any threat to its very confined habitat could result in total extinction for this species. This elm is not only important because of its rarity, but also because it is resistant to Dutch Elm disease, which has destroyed over 100 million of our native American elms. Breeding programs to introduce new ‘hybrid’ trees with resistance to Dutch Elm disease could save the American elm from extinction. Research on the Anhui elm, its habitat, and methods of successful reproduction is ongoing to help increase the population both within and outside of its native habitat.

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Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat was developed and produced by The Morton Arboretum in association with the Global Trees Campaign, a partnership between Fauna and Flora International and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

Funding for this exhibit comes from The Morton Arboretum and the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services, Museums for America Grant Program.

Support locally comes from LG&E and KU. Additional support provided by Shepherdsville/Bullitt County Tourism.

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