…A lone elm nearby has stood the southwest wind so long
he’s permanently bowed
over the shoulder of the road, abiding,
anxious for the passing stranger
in danger of surrendering…
By Paul David Colgin
This perennial tree is found from Newfoundland to Manitoba, and Florida to Texas. It prefers rich soils, by streams and in lowlands. At one time the elms were large, imposing trees, until Dutch Elm disease was imported and started killing them off. Prior to that time the American Indians made canoes from the trunks, the large mortar and pestles used for grinding corn, and for lodge poles.
The Cherokee used Ha wa tsi la tlu ga hi for skin ailments. It was combined with figwort, dogwood, balsam fir, and Purslane for the treatment of itch caused by insect bites. It was used in formulae with elder, goldernrod, ground ivy, soapwort, watercress, bayberry, and elecampane for the use of treating other skin ailments. The Choctaw used the inner bark for menstrual cramps in infusionform.
Elms (all varieties) have been used in magic. The strength of the wood has made it popular for wands and is used in magic concerned with endurance, fertility, horticulture, passage through life’s phases and the invocation of the Goddess.
This Elm is the state tree of both Massachusetts and North Dakota.