Slippery Elm is native to and widely distributed in the deciduous forests of North America, extending from southwestern Maine, westward into southern Quebec and Ontario, across to North Dakota, and southward into central Texas and northwestern Florida. It is most abundant in the Great Lakes region and in the Midwest. It prefers low elevations, in moist soils, and is an important colonizing pioneer species after forest fire. Many of the various species of Elm however, including Slippery Elm, have succumbed to Dutch Elm disease, a fatal fungal infection carried by the larvae of a bark beetle.
Slippery Elm is a medium to large deciduous tree from 6 to 24 meters in height, with rough irregular brownish bark on the main trunk that becomes whitish on the branches. The outer bark contains a thick, soft cambium layer, yellowish and very mucilaginous, lying over top a reddish-colored wood. The leaves are 10 to 15 cm long, 5 to 8 centimeters broad, obovate-oblong and conspicuously acuminate, doubly serrated, the leaf surface dry and rough above and soft and downy below. The leaf buds wooly and rust colored. The flowers are sessile, found in dense, lateral clusters, appearing before the leaves in the spring. The fruit is a spherical samara (winged fruit) containing single round seed.
UM-Dearborn College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters .., http://www.pearltrees.com/u/4165141-dearborn-college-sciences (accessed January 23, 2017).