Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ci yu shu, Hemiptelea
Hemiptelea davidii

Family: Ulmaceae (ulm-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hemiptelea (hem-ee-TEE-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: davidii (duh-VID-ee-eye) (Info)
Registered or introduced: 1872


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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to view:

By ViburnumValley
Thumbnail #1 of Hemiptelea davidii by ViburnumValley

By ViburnumValley
Thumbnail #2 of Hemiptelea davidii by ViburnumValley


1 positive
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive ViburnumValley On Jun 7, 2009, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Hemiptelea is an odd plant, and probably won't be making headlines anywhere soon. It is related to elms and zelkovas, two more species that occupy a niche in the landscape but don't overwhelm too often.

The Pennsylvania state champion tree resides in the Haverford College landscape. I'll need to visit there next time up northeast.

Hemiptelea is different in the thin thorny spurs that it forms along the branches. These would be annoying to walk into inadvertently, but come in handy if you want a hedge to control circulation patterns or unwanted cut-through behaviors. This plant can be sheared, and trying to push your way through it will only happen once.

This plant has been growing for me here in central KY since 2003. It has a rangy habit if unpruned. It produces small beigish white flowers and very small seeds akin to those of elm trees. It doesn't have any particular fall color. Consider it a novelty plant that none of your plant friends will ever identify.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Georgetown, Kentucky
Haverford, Pennsylvania

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