Japanese zelkova trees are often used as ornamental street trees. They are highly resistant to Dutch elm disease, so they are sometimes used in place of American elms. These trees can grow to 100 feet tall and are highly branched with short main trunks. Their growth form also makes them popular in the art of bonsai. The flowers are yellow-green and inconspicuous. The fruits are small green drupes that turn brown when ripe.
A unique feature of Japanese zelkova trees are the buds. They are small, greenish, and cone-shaped and develop along the branches in a zigzag pattern. The flowers are small, green, and inconspicuous.The fruits are small, oval shaped drupes. They start out green and then turn brown when they are ripe. The fruits tend to ripen in late summer and early fall.