Large deciduous tree that can grow up to heights of 100 feet and live 300 years. The crown is cylindrical and upright with short branches and is narrower than most other elms. The bark is grey-brown and deeply furrowed into scaly, flattened ridges. The leaf surface is shiny dark green, turning bright yellow in autumn; the underside has fine hairs. The flowers are red-green and appear in racemes up to 2 inches long two weeks before the leaves from March to May, depending on the tree's location. The fruit is a broad ovate samara covered with fine hair, notched at the tip, and maturing during May or June to form drooping clusters at the leaf bases.