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John H. Cooley and J. W. Van Sambeek
Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), identified by its "slippery" inner bark, is commonly a medium-sized tree of moderately fast growth that may live to be 200 years old. Sometimes called red elm, gray elm, or soft elm, this tree grows best and may reach 40 m (132 ft) on moist, rich soils of lower slopes and flood plains, although it may also grow on dry hillsides with limestone soils. It is abundant and associated with many other hardwood trees in its wide range. Slippery elm is not an important lumber tree; the hard strong wood is considered inferior to American elm even though they are often mixed and sold together as soft elm. The tree is browsed by wildlife and the seeds are a minor source of food. It has long been cultivated but succumbs to Dutch elm disease.