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Tree to 26 m. Bark greyish white to dark grey or greyish brown, longitudinally fissured. Branchlets purplish grey to pale brown, glabrous or pubescent, not winged. Leaves deciduous, 6–18 × 3–8.5 cm, elliptic to oblong or ovate, upper surface glabrous and often scabrous, lower surface densely hirsute when young, later hairs remaining in the vein axils only, (15–)17–26 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins double-serrate, apex caudate to acuminate; petiole 0.1–1.3 cm long, glabrous or pubescent. Inflorescences produced on second-year branches; fascicled cymes. Perianth campanulate, four- to six-lobed, margins ciliate. Samaras tan to light brown, broadly obovate to circular, 1.2–1.8 × 1–1.6 cm, largely glabrous, perianth persistent.
Flowering and fruiting February to April (China). Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003. Distribution CHINA: Anhui, Gansu, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang. Habitat Forests between 1500 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 4–5. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003; NT872. Cross-reference K405.
This variety differs from typical U. bergmanniana in that the undersides of the leaves are densely covered in curved or crisped hairs. Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003. Distribution CHINA: Gansu, Shaanxi, northwest Sichuan, southeast Xizang, northwest Yunnan. Habitat Forests between 2100 and 2900 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 4–5. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Fu & Xin 2000, Fu et al. 2003.
Ulmus bergmanniana has grown at Kew for some years, but accession details are not recorded. The current specimen was measured at 8 m in 2001 (TROBI), but there is also a record of a 10 m tree in 1990. Material of both varieties of U. bergmanniana was obtained by the Morton Arboretum from China in 1995 (Morton Arboretum online database) and both are growing there for comparison. To the inexperienced eye there is not much difference between them, as the leaf undersides are hairy in both, but the hairs are denser in var. lasiophylla, in some specimens at least. At the Morton Arboretum a specimen of var. bergmanniana was forming a narrowly vase-shaped 7 m tree when observed in 2006, and var. lasiophylla was forming a broad column about 8 m tall. The latter tree showed heavy insect damage to the leaves. Curiously, specimens of both varieties from the same introduction seen in the same year in the Chicago Botanic Garden, not very far away, were forming rounded trees. The species seems to be resistant to DED but is very susceptible to the Elm Leafminer (Smalley & Guries 2000), and while not suffering much from Elm Leaf Beetle in Oklahoma (Sunshine Nursery 2008), has been considered to be moderately to highly preferred by this insect in research carried out at the Morton Arboretum (Miller 2000). It is very hardy (Shirazi & Ware 2004).