Speckled Alder

9 Aug

This poor tree isn’t of much significance, not threatened or endangered, not much good for building wood – but every tree must have it’s time in the spotlight… so I present…Alnus incana,  the Grey or Speckled Alder  a species of alder with a wide range across the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

It is a small to medium size tree 15-20 m tall with smooth grey bark even in old age, its life span being a maximum of 60-100 years. The leaves are matt green, ovoid, 5-11 cm long and 4-8 cm broad. The flowers are catkins, appearing early in spring before the leaves emerge, the male catkins pendulous and 5-10 cm long, the female catkins 1.5 cm long and one cm broad when mature in late autumn. The seeds are small, 1-2 mm long, and light brown with a narrow encircling wing. The Grey Alder has a shallow root system, and is marked not only by vigorous production of stump suckers, but also by root suckers, especially in the northern parts of its range. The wood resembles that of the black alder, but is somewhat paler and of little value.

When we’re up at the cottage we (I guess that is the royal “we”) will have to map all the major clumps of trees, plants, animal hideouts, etc.  Should be fun!

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