The wych elm or Scotch elm is distributed throughout most of Europe, from Spain northward to the 65th parallel, and eastward as far as the Urals. It is found both in lowland country and high up in the mountains, even above the 1000 metre mark, most frequently in moist ravines, alongside streams and in scree woods with rich soil. The wych elm is a robust tree growing up to a height of 40 metres and developing a long, cylindrical bole topped by a rounded crown. The bark is ridged with shallow longitudinal furrows. In winter, one may observe on the twigs not only leaf buds but also globular flower buds. The flowers appear in February and March before the leaves, and, by early June, the tree sheds its ripe fruit- orbicular samaras with large membranous wings. The leaves are broadly obovate with an unequal base. Some of the leaves on young vigorous shoots may have a three-pointed tip.

The wych elm is a tree that requires partial shade, and is marked by rich natural reproduction from seed, as well as a good growth of stump suchers. At lower elevations, it is often attacked by a fungus disease that causes branches to die out. The medium heavy timber, with brownish heartwood, is used to make furniture, wagons, rifle stocks and other products.