Characters.—Flowers hermaphrodite or by abortion unisexual, in loose clusters, never in catkins. Calyx membranous, imbricated, campanulate, inferior, irregular. Petals 0. Stamens definite; inserted into the base of the calyx; erect in aestivation. Ovary superior, 1- or 2-celled; ovules solitary; pendulous; stigmas 2, distinct. Fruit 1- or 2-celled, indehiscent, membranous, or drupaceous. Seed solitary, pendulous; albumen none, or in very small quantity; embryo straight or curved, with foliaceous cotyledons; radicle superior.—Trees or shrubs, with rough, alternate, deciduous leaves, and stipules.
Properties.—The plants of this order bear some analogy to those of Cupuliferae, in their chemical and medicinal properties. Their bark contains tannic acid; combined, however, with mucilaginous and bitter matters. Hence it is reputed astringent and tonic.
Dr. M'Dowall, of Virginia, has proposed the bark of Ulmus fulva for bougies, tents, catheters, &c. [Brit. and For. Med. Review, July 1838, art. Elm Bark Surgery, p. 259.]