East Anglian Gallery

SE GAL – Essex/Cambridgeshire border

East Anglian Elm Gallery 2

This second gallery of surviving East Anglian elms includes trees from well beyond the hybridisation zone along the border of the three counties (but also some from within it). Its primary purpose is to illustrate the arresting degree of genetic variation to be found among the Ulmus minor in this part of England. Al photographs were taken in the winter of 2014-15, unless otherwise stated.

A working hypothesis to account for the survival of these trees, pending formal inoculation testing which is now well into the planning stage, is that this genetic diversity is itself providing a significant level of protection through vector avoidance. The scolytus beetle is a highly specialised feeder. Generations which have fed on English Elm and widespread strains of U. minor may simply be failing to recognise some of the East Anglian trees as suitable hosts.

 

Barsey Farm 1 On the outskirts of Haverhill. Notice the strong taper on the lower trunk of the intact tree to the right of the photograph.

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Barsey Farm 2 The same trees seen from the other side.

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Barsey Farm 3 In so far as it was possible to tell in winter, disease was not present in this stand. The compromised growth from the broken tree near the middle of the photograph was the result of other causes.

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Haverhill Hall The two tallest, close-grown trees here show some affinities with Huntingdon Elm (x vegeta).

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Hoys Farm 1 A general view of extremely unusual elms of about 30 metres on a ridge near Saffron Walden. There is substantial damage here, but it was not possible to tell whether it was the result of disease or wind-blow.

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Hoys Farm 2 Detail. The coherence of the outline formed by the terminal twigs is remarkable.

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Hoys Farm 3 This silhouette can only be compared to the Jersey Elm, “sarniensis”.

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Hoys Farm 4 Bark at Hoys Farm, bearing some resemblance to oak.

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Terling 1 This impressive study of hoar frost at Terling in Essex by Nev French consists of 5 trees; an oak (the nearest), and 4 elms. The three furthest elms were felled in 2008-9, apparently for reasons which had nothing to do with disease. The nearest, broken elm remains.

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Terling 2 Fortunately, mature elms which appear to be of the same strain still exist at Termitt’s Farm, Terling.

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Terling 3 The slightly pendulous form of the Terling elms clearly appears here.

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Terling 4 Although disease symptoms are not present on this site, there is evidence of scolytus breeding in fallen wood. It therefore seems likely that the trees have been challenged, rather than merely escaping by chance.

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Mepal The well-known elm woodland pasture, photographed in summer 2014, may survive in part because of its isolation on the edge of the Fens. There is an element of Plot Elm here, but more than one genotype seems to be present. There have been losses over the years, but it is not clear whether they were caused by disease or by old age and exposure.