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"The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder"
J.B.S.Haldane

Alder

Alnus

Alders are tough trees or large shrubs, with a coarse texture, rough, very green leaves, and cute seed pods (stromboli) that look like tiny pine cones, 2 cm long. They grow reasonably well on crap soil and fix their own nitrogen. Alder is often used to reclaim mine sites.

Natively, you find alder as an understory shrub, often on the north edge of a poplar grove. I think due to the extra snowmelt from winter drifts. Often found near springs, seeps, runoff channels. But I've also seen it in full sun. I suspect that it needs some extra water to get established in our climate.

Alder wood is used for smoking fish and game. The wood has a strong orange cast, and a striking grain. It's used for various woodworking projects.

Alders are in the same family as birches.

We have ~~two~~ three native alders in Alberta. At this point (2016) we carry Green Alder. We may be able to get river alder. Drop us a line.

Green alder sometimes called upland alder, tag alder, mountain alder. Alnus crispa or Alnus viridis Tends to form a large shrub 10 to 25 feet tall.

Speckled Alder River alder. (Alnus incana) Very much like green alder but twigs and young bark (smooth) is speckled. Usually found in boggy soils, and wetland margins.

River Alder ??? Help!

(In checking this out, I have found Alnus rugosa, Alnus incana, Alnus incana subsp. rugosa. This is obviously one of those battlegrounds between the lumpers and the splitters in the plant name game. If they are separate species, they are very similar. In either case, River/speckled alder likes it wetter and has more shade tolerance.)

More about alder:

Alder on Wikipedia

Green Alder on Nativeplants.evergreen.ca

Green Alder on borealforest.org

River/speckled alder on USFS

Leaf -- Alder

Species
Cultivar
Container
Format
Available
(# plants)
Height
(feet)
Price
($/Plant)
Alder, Green #1 Std pot (3 qt) 115 $12.50
Alder, Green #2 Std pot (6 qt) 140 $20.00
Last Update: 2020-Aug-26



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Sherwood's Forests is located about 75 km southwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Please refer to the map on our Contact page for directions.