Pine Tree Cemetery's Camperdown Elms

camperdownelm     camperdoenelm

We have two Camperdown Elms in the cemetery These are very special trees! 

The Camperdown Elm ('Weeping Elm') Ulmus glabra 'Camperdown' is a cultivar, which cannot reproduce from seed. The grafted Camperdown Elm slowly develops a broad, flat head that will eventually build as high as 30 feet and a proportionately very wide, contorted and weeping habit. It needs a large open space in order to develop fully, and so is not recommended for small home grounds. 

About 1835 - 1840 (often miscalled as '1640'), the Earl of Camperdown’s head forester, David Taylor, discovered a mutant contorted branch growing along the ground in the forest at Camperdown House, in Dundee, Scotland. The earl's gardener produced the first Camperdown Elm by grafting it to the trunk of a Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra), the only elm species that the Camperdown will accept as a root stock. Every Camperdown Elm in the world is from a cutting taken from that original mutant cutting and is grafted on a Wych elm trunk, usually 4 - 6 feet above ground.

Camperdown Elms satisfied a mid-Victorian taste for curiosities in the 'Gardenesque' gardens then in vogue. Many examples were planted, as 'rarities', in Britain and America, wherever elite gardens were extensive enough for tree collections (see Arboretum). There are many on university campuses, often planted as memorials. In Prospect Park, Brooklyn, a Camperdown Elm planted in 1872 near the Boat House has developed into a picturesque weatherbeaten specimen, no more than 13 feet high, like an oversized bonsai. It considered the outstanding specimen tree in Prospect Park. 

Camperdown Elm is hardy, suffering more from summer drought than winter cold (to zone 4). Since it is a cultivar of the very susceptible Wych elm, it is too very susceptible to Dutch Elm disease; the cultivar is now effectively extinct in Britain as a result. In North America it often escapes infection, possibly because the American vectors of the disease do not feed on Wych elm; however its leaves are disfigured there by leaf-mining and leaf-rolling insects, such as the Elm casebearer, Coleophora ulmifoliella [1] 

More on the Elm Casebearer, Click Here.