Common Alder

610 Common Alders were planted in Hither Wood, they are proving hard to find so the picture is not one of a tree in the park.

Latin/Botanical Name: Alnus glutinosa

Range: Native to much of Europe in moist ground near rivers, ponds and lakes

Height: to 25m usually less

Uses: Durable if kept wet and able to withstanding rotting, it was traditionally used in the construction of boats, sluice gates and water pipes, but also charcoal and gunpowder. Nowadays it is planted in flood mitigation schemes and the wood is used for veneers, pulp and plywood. The roots have nitrogen-fixing nodules, which improves soil fertility.

Description: Deciduous, bark is grey-brown. Leaves roughly circular, blunt or notched at the apex, wavy edged or shallow toothed, dark green and shiny. Alder is monoecious (male and female flowers on the same tree), between February and April, pendulous yellow male catkins and oval, green female catkins appear. Female flowers develop in to brown cones.

Interesting Facts: It is thought that the female woodworm lays eggs in alder in preference to other wood. Traditionally, alder branches were cut and placed in cupboards to deter woodworm from laying eggs in the cupboard timber.