Ulmus davidiana is a deciduous shrub or a tree with a broad crown; it can grow up to 15 metres tall. The bole is up to 30cm in diameter.
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Ulmus davidiana Planch., the David, or Father David, elm, is a small deciduous tree widely distributed across China, Mongolia, Korea, Siberia, and Japan, where it is found in wetlands along streams at elevations of 2000–2300 m (6,500–7,500 ft). The tree was first described in 1873 from the hills north of Beijing, China.
Ulmus davidiana is considered to have a remarkable resemblance to the American elm (U. americana) in all but ultimate size. The tree grows to a maximum height of 15 m (50 ft), with a relatively slender trunk < 0.3 m (1 ft) d.b.h. supporting a dense canopy casting a heavy shade. Its bark remains smooth for a comparatively long time, before becoming longitudinally fissured. The leaves, often dark red on emergence, are obovate to obovate-elliptic < 10 cm (4 in) × < 5 cm (2 in), with a minimal petiole of 2-3mm; the upper surface is rough. The perfect, wind-pollinated apetalous flowers are produced on second-year shoots in March, followed by obovate samarae < 19 mm (3/4 in) long × < 14 mm (1/2 in) wide.