Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, deciduous or evergreen. Branchlets never spinose, sometimes with a thick and irregularly longitudinally fissured corky layer or with 2 flat opposite corky wings. Bud scales imbricate, glabrous or pubescent. Stipules 2, lanceolate-ovate to linear, membranous, caducous, leaving a short transverse scar on each side of leaf base. Leaves distichous, blade base ± oblique, margin doubly or simply serrate; venation pinnate; secondary veins extending to margin, each ending in a tooth. Bracteoles at base of pedicels, membranous. Pedicel shorter than to almost as long as perianth, pubescent or rarely glabrous. Flowers bisexual or polygamous, appearing in spring before leaves, rarely in autumn or winter. Perianth 4-9-lobed, usually campanulate; tepals membranous, usually persistent, apex usually lacinulate. Stamens equal in number to tepals; filaments flat; anthers extrorse. Ovary flat; ovule pendulous, amphitropous. Style very short or rarely slightly elongate and bifid; stigmas 2, linear, pubescent. Samara flat, orbicular, obovate, oblong, elliptic, or rarely shuttle-shaped, wings membranous, apex with notch and persistent stigmas. Seed at center or toward apex of samara, compressed or ± convex, without endosperm; embryo erect; cotyledon flat or ± convex.
Many species yield fine woods, edible fruit, and medicinal products.
Many Chinese Ulmus species are cultivated in areas beyond their native range. In addition, the non-native species Ulmus americana Linnaeus, U. densa Litvinov, and U. laevis Pallas are grown as cultivated plants in China.
About 40 species: Asia, Europe, North America; 21 species (14 endemic) in China.