Alnus rugosa – Speckled Alder – 3-Gallon


A thicket-forming shrub growing in colonies in wet, sunny locations. Its leaves have a jagged, doubly serrate margin like a page torn out of a book , and white lenticels dot and speckle the trunk. While Alders are not highly refined plants for the well-manicured landscape, they are great healers of land. They and many other woody pioneer genera like Comptonia, Ceanothus and Dryas fix nitrogen through a root association with bacteria in the genus Frankia. They colonize nutrient-poor areas, build up the soil, and make these areas fit for other plants to follow. Their colonizing root systems stabilize stream banks. Also a great butterfly plant, hosting Tiger Swallowtail, White Admiral, Green Comma and Mourning Cloak. This member of the birch family has seed catkins that feed many species of birds. (Mostly from Cullina, Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines , 2002)



Photo by Wilhelm Zimmerling PAR, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons