Alnus rubra

Family: Betulaceae

Common Name: red alder

Origin/Ecology: Native to BC

Habit: Stiffly upright, grows to 30 m tall, 10 m wide.

Leaves: Simple, soft flexible, heavily veined, pinnate venation, glabrous, lustrous, ovate, double serrate. Leaf margins fold over.

Leaf Arrangement: alternate

Flowers and Fruit: Catkins, yellow, Mar-Aug. Cones, nuts, brown, Sept-Oct. Catkins start green, then turn brown, then pink, then yellow.


Water Use, Soil: Acidic, well-drained, humus rich. Can grow on very poor soils that nothing else will grow on. Important pioneer species. Can create its own nitrogen and make soil more fertile for other plants.

Exposure: Full sun.

Landscape Uses: Erosion control, tall background, wetland, woodland margin.


Other Features: Fast-growing, deep roots. Cut wood is bright orange-red. Buds are weird, duck bill-shaped.