Zelkova serrata

Zelkova, Japanese Elm


137 South Duke Street, Lancaster PA


David Labeda


This tree, native to Japan, Korea, and China, is probably the oldest Zelkova in Lancaster County. Its trunk circumference of 173 inches puts it behind only three other Zelkovas in Pennsylvania as reported at pabigtrees.com.


The species is long-lived — 500 years — but the age of this specimen is uncertain. The species was not introduced to America until 1862 (156 years ago), and yet the real estate listing of the tree pegged it at 200 years, and its trunk circumference leads to a computation of a little over 200 as well. It’s safe to say this tree, which lives in the Old Town section of Lancaster, was planted during the early years of Zelkovas in America.


This amazing species is tolerant of heat, little water, nutrient-poor soil, Japanese beetles and a wide pH range, and it is also highly resistant to Dutch Elm Disease.


[Last photo shows the tree's tiny triangular drupes, each of which contains one seed.]