De ulmo

Ulmus vocatur, ut dicit Ysidorus, quod vim habet multam viroris. Natura enim ipsius talis est, ut etiam arefacta, si abluatur, reviviscat. Deinde excisa atque in humo fixa radicibus sese ipsa demergit.

Concerning the elm tree. It is called the elm tree, as Isidore says, because it has great strength of verdure. Indeed, its nature is so great that even having been dried up, if it is refreshed, it comes to life again. After having been cut apart and having been fixed in the ground by the roots, it settles itself.

abluo, abluere, ablui, ablutus 3 to quench; refresh

arefacio, arefacere, arefei, arefactus 3 io to dry up; to wither up

demergo, demergere, demersi, demersus 3 to submerge, to immerse, to set

excido, excidere, excidi, excisus to cut off; to cut apart

humus, humi f. ground; soil

radix, radicis f. root

ulmus, ulmi f. elm tree

viror, viroris m. verdure; fresh green quality

Ysidorus: Isidore of Seville, a 6th century scholar and Archbishop who wrote an etymological encyclopedia that included information on the natural world.

quod: causal quod, “beacuse…”

ut etiam…reviviscat: result clause with talis. “Indeed, the nature of it [the elm tree] is so great that even having been dried up, if watered, it comes to life again.” This is why reviviscat is subjunctive.

demergit: this is referring to the elm tree’s supposed ability to re-grow from cut branches. Though demergit means to immerse or to set, the implication is that its roots are settling and stabilizing themselves.