Central Park Splendor® Chinese Elm Fact Sheet

Karnosky's Elms home

News release


Development of Central Park Splendor®

Origin: Cloned from a parent tree in New York City's Central Park that dates back to 1870s. The tree is said to have been given to the city as a gift from the King of Prussia.About 1,000 Central Park Splendor® elms are now growing in New York city parks.

Research sponsor: Mr. Arthur Ross, through the Arthur Ross Foundation, funded research to study and propagate the tree.

Researchers: Dr. David Karnosky, a professor in the School of Forestry and Wood Products, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, has studied and cloned this Chinese elm for more than 20 years, first at The New York Botanical Garden and then at Michigan Tech. He is accompanied on his June 3, 2002, trip to China by graduate student Bixia Xiang.

Commercial development: Patented by the Arthur Ross Foundation and the Central Park Conservancy. Licensed to J. Frank Schmidt and Son Company, of Hood Acres, Oregon, USA, a wholesale tree grower serving landscapers and nurseries.

Tree facts

• Scientific name: Ulmus parifolia Jacq. var. Central Park Splendor®

Height: Larger than the species and rapid growing. Up to about 20 meters tall, 5.5 meters after seven years with 4.6-meter crown spread

Hardiness: Hardier than the common variety of Chinese elm, which is typically found only in warm climates. Undamaged in zone 6 with occasional branch dieback in zone 5. Thrives in urban environments and tolerates all soils, from sand to clay. Pest free and not susceptible to Dutch elm disease.

Appearance: Branching, open growth pattern. Oval leaves are shiny, leathery and dark green in summer, turning bright yellow in autumn.

About the visit to China

Purpose of the trip: To bring this Chinese elm cultivar for researchers to test, grow, and propagate in various regions of China.

Recipients in China: Dr. Xihuan Shen, president of the Chinese Society of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Beijing Forestry University Mr. Minren Huang, professor, Nanjing Forestry University Dr. Yinghai Xiang, Gui Zhou Academy of Science

Number of trees taken to China: 150

Where they were grown: Michigan Technological University

How they were grown: Cloned in the laboratory from leaf cuttings

Contact information

• David Karnosky, professor, Michigan Tech: 1-906-487-2898, karnosky@mtu.edu

• Gail Lloyd, executive director, Arthur Ross Foundation: 1-212-737-7311, fax 1-212-650-0332, arfdn@wordnet.att.net

• Karl Lauby, vice president for communications, New York Botanical Garden: 1-718-817-8637, klauby@nybg.org

• Dean Woodbeck, Michigan Tech news/information: 906-487-3327, woodbeck@mtu.edu