Alder has a conical growth habit (it grows in a pyramid shape) and dark green, glossy, rounded leaves. In early spring it produces yellow catkins followed by clusters of woody fruits that resemble pinecones; they hang like baubles on the bare trees over winter. When cut, the pale wood turns a deep orange, giving the impression of bleeding, this lead many people throughout history to fear alder trees and the Irish even thought it was unlucky to pass one on a journey.
Estimate full grown height: 20 metres, growing an estimated 60cm+ each year.
Value to wildlife: Alder is the food plant for the caterpillars of several moths including the alder kitten, pebble hook-tip, autumnal and blue bordered carpet moth. Catkins provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees, and the seeds are eaten by the siskin, redpoll and goldfinch.
Preferred soil type or environmental conditions: Tolerates most conditions and soils, especially damp areas. On drier soils it grows as a bush.
UK sourced and grown: Every sapling that we provide is UK sourced and grown to minimise the risk of importing and spreading tree pests and diseases. Seeds are collected and stored in the UK, and they are all coded and batched so that we can track each individual tree.
Learn more about this tree on our alder species profile.