The Elm at Starved Rock


This cross-section of one of the largest American Elm trees in the United States is about 5 feet in diameter. The tree died in 2000 as a result of Dutch Elm Disease and was approximately 200 years old.

Each of the little arrowed-tabs points to an annular ring and denotes a corresponding event in US/World history. The tab closest to the pith marks the beginning of the American Civil War and so on.

After being introduced to the US, Dutch Elm Disease decimated 95% of the American Elm population. Ironically, Ash trees were often planted in their stead and are now falling victim to the Emerald Ash Borer, marking a common pattern in the fall of American timber to invasive species.

Interestingly, apparently 1 in 100,000 thousand elm trees are resistant to the disease, including the St. Croix Elm in the Twin Cities from which cultivars are being taken and are now propagated. May they 1