How to identify an alder tree
How do you identify an alder tree?
Wondering if you are looking at an alder tree? Your clues are their leaves, buds, catkins and cones. Here’s what they look like at-a-glance:
Alder tree facts
Hello! In today’s guide we are going to learn how to identify an alder tree. Are you ready? Let’s get started! Here are a few alder facts:
- Common name: Alder – Common, European or black
- Latin name: Alnus glutinosa
- Family: Betulacea
Alder trees can grow up to 28 meters, live for up to 60 years and prefer to grow in cool, damp places like marshes, lakesides and riverbanks.
Alder leaves are identified by their rounded shape, leathery texture and indented tips.
Their buds are rounded in shape and a soft, purple-pink colour.
Young alder cones and catkins
The young catkins are knobbly, chubby and oval (female) or short, stubby and laced all over with a black criss-cross pattern (male)
Mature alder cones and catkins
Mature catkins become small, woody cones (female) or soft, dangly and spotted with a red dotted pattern (male)
Alder tree uses
- Medicinal – Alder is traditionally used for inflammation and healing
- Dyes – Its catkins give green, cones give brown and bark gives a bright orange dye
- Bushcraft – Because of their preference for moist soil, they indicate fresh water
- Wildlife – Alder trees are a food source for several birds and a variety of moths
- Industry – Instead of rotting, the more alder soaks, the harder it gets – great for canals
- Environment – As a pioneer species, alder helps fix nitrogen into the soil