Before the devastation of Dutch Elm Disease, a fungal infection that wiped out most of the mature elm trees in Britain during the 1970s, the English Elm was a very common sight in Wales. It is instantly recognisable by the leaves, which have bristly hairs on the upper surface. The leaves are typically 7 x 5 cm.
An English Elm can grow to more than 30 metres, but of those growing in Wales today few reach 10 metres in height before the bark crinkles and the tree dies.
The seeds of English Elm are set near the apex of the fruit, whereas those of the Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) are more central. Both were very common in Wales prior to 1970. The leaves of Wych Elm are generally larger (typically 10 x 7cm) and rather darker than those of English Elm; they also have more pairs of veins - 12 to 18 compared with 8 to 12 for English Elm.