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Winged Elm or Wahoo Tree

Winged Elm or Wahoo TreeThe Winged Elm, or Wahoo (U. alata, Michx.), is not an important timber tree, though its wood is used in the localities where it grows. Its leaves and the two thin, corky blades that arise on the branches are dainty, as befits the smallest of the elm trees. There is none of the ruggedness of the cork elm in the appearance of this pretty, round-headed tree. It rarely grows over 40 feet high, and is distributed from Virginia to Florida, and west to Illinois and Texas. Its small, winged samaras are each prolonged into two prominent incurving hooks at the apex. They hang in pendulous racemes. The tree is occasionally planted for shade in Southern cities, but it is not hardy in the North. "Wahoo" seems to be a term rather indiscriminately applied to elm trees in sections of the South. "Mountain elm" and "small-leaved elm" are significant popular names.

Two elms have leathery, almost evergreen leaves, and bloom very late in the summer. One, found in Georgia and Tennessee, was confused with U. Thomasi until its flowers were found opening in the axils of the season's leaves in the month of September! This discovery set it apart as a separate species, and it was named from its red-brown wood, the Red Elm (U. scrotina), by Professor Sargent. The specific name means late.