About This Plant

The bark of Alnus glutinosa, commonly known as the Common Alder, is characterized by its smooth, greyish-green to dark brown surface. As the tree matures, the bark develops shallow fissures and becomes somewhat corky in texture.
In terms of height, the Common Alder typically grows to be a medium-sized tree, reaching heights of 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters) at maturity. It has an upright, conical or cylindrical form with a crown that becomes broader with age. The Common Alder is known for its rapid growth and adaptability to wet or waterlogged soils, making it a valuable species in riparian and wetland environments.

The Story


The leaves of the Common Alder are deciduous and alternate in arrangement along the branches. They are broadly oval to elliptical in shape, with serrated margins. The leaves typically measure 5 to 10 centimetres in length and have a dark green colour. One distinctive feature is the slightly glossy or sticky texture of the leaves, a characteristic that gives rise to the species name “glutinosa.” In autumn, the leaves often turn a yellow-green colour before eventually transitioning to a warm yellow or brown.


The common alder produces cone-like structures as its fruiting bodies. These structures are called strobiles or catkins. The female catkins of the common alder develop into woody, cone-like structures that contain seeds. The cone-like fruits are small, usually about 1 to 2 centimetres long, and are brown in colour. They are often oval or cylindrical in shape, with scales that protect the seeds within. These cones are commonly seen hanging from the branches of the common alder tree.
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