The Camperdown elm, or Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’, is a low-growing elm that famously cannot reproduce from seed. It is a cultivar of the Wych elm, and thus susceptible to Dutch Elm Disease. However, its modest stature means that it often avoids detection by the Scolytae beetle (which is one of the predominant species that spread the disease). You can see one specimen of the Camperdown elm, just in front of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe forecourt (see our map of the Pavilion Gardens). It is tolerant of cold temperatures, and its unusual growth habit lends itself to the casual name it sometimes goes by, ‘umbrella elm’.
The Camperdown elm has its origin in the forest surrounding Camperdown House in Dundee, Scotland, where the head forester in the Earl of Camperdown’s employ discovered a small, contorted elm between 1835 and 1840 (exact year unknown). The forester lifted the young tree and moved it to the Camperdown House gardens, where it remains to this day. As the tree does not reproduce from seed, every Camperdown elm in the world is descended from this tree, from cuttings normally grafted on a Wych elm trunk.