Ulmus parvifolia has made appearances on Botany Photo of the Day before, but either as a bonsai or dwarf cultivar (entries tagged Ulmaceae). It can also be a worthwhile street or specimen tree, due to the ornamental bark.
Douglas Justice on lacebark elm, from the Vancouver Trees App:
This handsome, urban-tolerant tree from eastern Asia is seldom cultivated in the Vancouver area, but there seems no good reason why it shouldn’t be. It is reliably cold-hardy, resistant to elm disease and not attacked by elm leaf beetles. Notwithstanding the difficulties in importing trees, seed is abundant and available in the marketplace. Although regulated, the movement of elm seed is not subject to the same level of restriction in Canada that is applied to living plants. The most probable explanation for the absence of lacebark elm in the Vancouver landscape is that all of the seedlings are shipped east because of a lack of demand locally. This is unfortunate.
The leaves of lacebark elm are among the smallest of the cultivated elms, even smaller than those of Siberian elm. They are lustrous green, smooth above and pubescent under, obovate to more or less elliptical, 3 to 5 by 1 to 3 cm, the margins furnished with small, neat teeth. Leaves usually fall green or yellow green, late in the autumn. Trees are typically vase-like, eventually forming a rounded crown to 20 m or usually less, with fine, somewhat pendent outer branches. Beyond the verdant, fine textured foliage, the tree’s main attraction is the scaly, orange-lenticel-studded, pewter grey bark that exfoliates attractively, with irregular small flakes that expose the variously tan to red-brown under-bark. Even relatively young trees exhibit this striking feature. The species is variable across its huge range, some plants from warmer, more southern areas retaining their leaves over mild winters.
There are several named selections of in American commerce, such as the exceptionally tough ‘Emer II’ (Allee™ elm), which is increasingly the industry standard, with its fluted trunk, strong upright habit and good yellow autumn leaves, and ‘Aurea’, which has appealing, golden new growth. Like most cultivars of other elm species, they are unavailable in British Columbia. Some local nurseries are being cajoled into trialing seedlings, but appropriate selections will be some years off.
As Douglas noted, it would be difficult for me to photograph these locally (these pictures were taken at the North Carolina Arboretum five years ago). Thankfully, that will change in the next 5-10 years as the cajoling Douglas mentioned bears bark (I suppose they will also eventually bear fruit). Courtesy of a local nursery, we now have plants being assessed for future transplanting into the Garden. I look forward to many photographic hours with these lacebark elms.
More about the origin of this particular cultivar is available via the Missouri Botanical Garden: Ulmus parvifolia ‘Emer II’.
Lastly, a note to local readers on a different topic. The In Bloom Wildflower Festival is this upcoming Saturday at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve near Duncan. This is a once-a-year opportunity for the public to visit the preserve and view one of the best remnants of a British Columbian Garry oak ecosystem. You can read more about the preserve via The Tyee: On Nature’s Death Row: It Used to Be BC’s “Eden”.