'Commelin' (elm hybrid)

Ulmus × hollandica 'Commelin'
RN Ulmus hollandica Commelin summer.JPG
'Commelin', Netherlands.
Hybrid parentageU. × hollandica 'Vegeta' × U. minor
OriginBaarn, The Netherlands

Ulmus × hollandica 'Commelin' is a Dutch hybrid cultivar released for sale in 1960. The tree was raised at Baarn as clone 274 by the Foundation Willie Commelin Scholten Phytopathological Laboratory [1] in 1940, from a crossing of Ulmus × hollandica 'Vegeta' and clone 1, an Ulmus minor selected from a 1929 elm seedlings lot obtained from the Barbier nursery, Orléans.


RN Ulmus hollandica Commelin winter.JPG

A fast-growing, attractively-shaped tree distinguished by its small pale-green leaves with bright venation and a slight blue-grey color distinction from ‘Vegeta’. The leaf shape is typically elliptic, with a short acuminate apex.[1] The leaves are sparsely arranged and fall significantly later than those of 'Vegeta'.[2]

Pests and diseases[]

Although resistant to the original strain of Dutch elm disease, Ophiostoma ulmi and a range of other ailments, 'Commelin' proved very susceptible to the later, aggressive strain Ophiostoma novo-ulmi subsp. americana.


'Commelin' initially enjoyed considerable commercial success and over 500,000 had been sold by 1974. However, the tree had only been screened for non-aggressive or semi-aggressive isolates of the causal fungus of Dutch elm disease. When its low resistance to the new strain of the disease became apparent, sales plummeted, and only 500 were sold in 1990.[3][4] However, neither 'Commelin' nor its slightly less vulnerable contemporary 'Groeneveld' had sold in great numbers beyond the Netherlands, although it was later used in hybridization experiments in the United States as female parent of several cultivars.

Notable trees[]

The UK TROBI Champion is at Ashton Rise in Brighton, measuring 22 m high by 55 cm d.b.h. in 2009.[5]

Hybrid cultivars[]


The cultivar is named for Jan Commelin, a Dutch botanist of the 17th century.


North America[]





  1. ^ noordplant.nl, 'Commelin' leaves
  2. ^ The thicker branches have a slight sinusoid form compared to ‘Vegeta’, with straight branches. Photograph of 'Commelin' elm
  3. ^ Heybroek, H.M. (1993). "The Dutch Elm Breeding Program". In Sticklen, Mariam B.; Sherald, James L. (eds.). Dutch Elm Disease Research. New York, USA: Springer-Verlag. pp. 16–25. ISBN 978-1-4615-6874-2. Retrieved 26 October 2017..
  4. ^ Burdekin, D.A.; Rushforth, K.D. (November 1996). Revised by J.F. Webber. "Elms resistant to Dutch elm disease" (PDF). Arboriculture Research Note. Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham: Arboricultural Advisory & Information Service. 2/96: 1–9. ISSN 1362-5128. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  5. ^ Johnson, O. (2011). Champion Trees of Britain & Ireland, p. 168. Kew Publishing, Kew, London. ISBN 9781842464526.

External links[]