Eating elm seeds

I remembered, when I saw this fascinating post by Alan, that Wooddogs3 has an article about the near-related Siberian elm:

I wonder if either fruits well under coppicing every year or two?

Of Plums and Pignuts

Every May there is a brief, overwhelmingly abundant forest harvest: the seeds of the wych elm or Ulmus glabra.

An elm in seed is a wonderful sight. It begins with tiny, nondescript (but quite beautiful if you look closely) flowers. Being wind-pollinated, they dispense with showy petals and rely on sheer numbers of pollen grains blowing in the wind to find a partner. Over spring they develop into the mature seeds. The seeds are green, leafy and coin sized; they develop before the tree has produced leaves but they are so numerous that a seed-bearing elm looks like it has come into leaf already. This prolific production is the elm’s insurance policy. Where some trees pack their seeds with toxins to deter seed-eating animals, the elm’s strategy is to produce as many seeds as possible as quickly as possible so that no predator can have a hope of taking…

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  1. Ah, my friend, careful what you wish for…but then this spring, against all rational advice, I planted running bamboo without root barriers, rationalizing that I could control them by eating the shoots, so I am not in a position to carp about the invasives desired by others.


  2. And BTW I have a lot of coppiced Siberian elms around my place because I can’t get rid of them and therefore might as well collect some goat feed. Mine have never bloomed and made seeds since being coppiced, but the leaves are produced in large quantity and are very mild in flavor and appealing to livestock, and I would think that rabbits would like them.
    Are your rabbits pets or meat animals or both?


    1. Darn. I was hoping to coppice them to keep the seed production down.

      Back to the drawing board.

      You can control bamboo by cutting. My neighbor has P. aureus (I’m pretty sure) and P. bissettii (I am sure). The aureus is shorter and actually a far more aggressive runner. The sprouts come up every year up to fifteen feet from the patch. Mowing keeps it down though.
      I’m surprised in your climate you didn’t try a clumping bamboo. Burnt Ridge carries one they say is superior for eating to the running species. Haven’t tried it because it’s not hardy for me and I haven’t wasted the money yet to try it despite the warning.

      My rabbit is for her manure. I bred her once years ago but began thinking about correct relation of resources and figured the manure she provided is enough for encouraging bacteria while grass and clover is most valuable otherwise as mulch.

      My mother has in the last few months gone crazy with rabbits, breeding them to sell for meat. She even has a “hopper popper” for processing them. We did 28 not long ago and she has another batch coming on. She hasn’t found many clients though. I like rabbit, but not that much, so we may start weaning her off her rabbit craze.

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      1. I had to go see what a “hopper popper” was. Your mom is tough! I have never been able to get very enthusiastic about rabbit meat, and if I go to the trouble of butchering, it’s for meat that I enjoy, like chicken. So, no hopper popping for me. But rabbit meat is a very sound thing ecologically and easy for a home to produce, and I just wish that I liked it better. To me it tastes a lot like chicken breast, and that’s my least favorite part of chickens.
        My goat is hugely pregnant and with any luck will deliver soon, which should give me two more uses for Siberian elm.


  3. Re the clumping bamboos, the ones that are hardy in my area tend to be the ones that don’t have particularly good shoots. Although we are USDA zone seven here, we have a very dry difficult winter that is really hard on a lot of plants that are technically hardy in 7 and I just don’t have a lot of extra time to fuss with giving plants special protection. But I did decide to take a flyer on Chusquea gigantea; just ordered two of them. I will mulch the hell out of them and hope for the best.


    1. I figured that was the reason. I hope they make it for you. Then you could just remove the running bamboo.

      Another note: Alan just replied to my reblog saying in his experience the wych elm doesn’t seed after being coppiced either. I bought seed of both, so will have to think had what to do with them.


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