Identification: Variety of Alder

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by DavidB52, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. DavidB52

    DavidB52 Member

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    Location:
    Coquitlam, B.C. Zone 8a
    My neighbor has an Alder tree that is always dropping branches and seeds in our yard and I've never thought much of it before. But now that I've learned it's a nitrogen-fixing tree, I went outside today to collect some seeds. Broken branches and little cones seem to fall everywhere! Especially after the period of rain and wind we've had over the past few days.

    Now I'm trying to identify the variety of Alder it is. Attached is a photo of the cones and a couple leaves I picked up this morning. The tree itself is a real tree, not a shrub, almost as tall as the cedars growing around it.

    Can anybody here identify this variety of Alder? (Or do I have to wait until Spring and look at the male catkins?)
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Red Alder Alnus rubra.
     
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  3. DavidB52

    DavidB52 Member

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    Location:
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    Hi, Michael.

    Thanks for the quick response.

    I am curious: what identifies it as a Red Alder?
    I was looking for a curl of the leaves, but didn't see it.
    How is it different from, say, Black Alder?
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Black Alder has round leaves, very distinctive. The other species in BC (Thinleaf Alder, Sitka Alder) have smaller seed catkins ("cones") and less clearly lobulate leaves.

    The curled-down edge of Red Alder leaves is very hard to see, really needs a magnifying glass (and isn't always present, either).
     

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