Common Alder, Alnus glutinosa

Identification Features:

  • Bark: Starting smooth but soon becoming very scaly with vertically-aligned plates, sometimes showing pale orange in the cracks.
  • Twigs: Covered in small glands when young.
  • Buds: On stalks, curved, 7mm, mauve-grey colored with two scales that themselves are scaly

Description/General Character:
Upright, straight-trunked tree. Spire-shaped when young, potentially broadening with age.

Throughout Europe west to the Caucasus and Iran, South to North Africa. Common waterside tree.

Damp ground, including particularly wet Alder carrs.

Other Observations:
Mauve catkins and buds give the tree a ‘purple haze’ look in winter. Male catkins in bunches of 2-3. Female catkins in 3-8 eventually form green cone-like fruit. The previous year’s fruit often persist on the tree as woody cones

Author: Paul

Paul has had an interest in the outdoors since he was a young kid. Walking, tracking and exploring the wilderness around him, from disused overgrown railway lines to the vast wilderness of the UK national parks. Over the last few years Paul has honed his skills into specific areas of bushcraft and survival. He is an expert in map reading, shelter building and knots, traps and fishing.


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