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Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed

Leaves Tree1 Tree2 By Creek Branchlet Upperside Underside Bark Female Cones Baby Alder

Alnus rubra - Red Alder

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Family Name: Betulaceae

Common Names: Red Alder, Oregon Alder

Origin: Native to California

Habitat: Stream banks and moist upland slopes below 1000m, found near the Pacific Coast.

Life Form and Duration: Perennial Tree, 15-30 m tall

Comments on overall growth: Erect, single trunk, clear of branches for 1/2 - 2/3 of height. Branches drooping and forming rounded narrow - broad crown in mature trees.

Bark and Stem Description: Thin, smooth, and light ashy gray to whitish, inner bark dark red, bark generally covered with lichen patches adding to mottled appearance.

Foliage Type: Deciduous

Foliage Description: Simple, alternate, broadly elliptic-ovate with acute tip and tapered to round base, 6-15 cm long. Conspicuously pinnate veins with midrib and major veins indented, when young leaves appear accordion folded. Leaf margins distinctly folded/rolled under and coarsely toothed (doubly serrated). Upper surfaces are dark green and hairless, under surfaces are pale green with prominent veins.

Infloresence Description: Male catkins: 2-4 per cluster at the end of branches, drooping, cylindrical, 10-15 cm long. Female catkins: 3-5 per cluster, terminal, erect, on stout stalks, 1-3 cm long, much like a mini cone.

Flowering Season: March-April

Fruit Description: Small but distinctively winged woody nutlet, many per catkin.

Plant Use: Foliage and bark used for wildlife browse.

Other Comments: Often becomes established on disturbed sites.