Science: Shadowed Elm

Fighting for a favorite tree

Graceful and majestic, their delicate, almond-shaped leaves framed against summer skies, elms once grew thickly in the forests of the eastern U.S. and served as shade trees along thousands of Main Streets. Then, in the early 1930s, disaster struck. A load of elm logs arrived from Europe infested with a parasitic fungus. First identified in 1919 by Dutch plant pathologists, the fungus, Ceratocystis ulmi, invades the elm's vascular system, clogging it and causing death. Beginning in the Cleveland and New York City areas, then in scores of other...

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