Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Alnus serrulata

Hazel alder, Brookside alder, Tag alder, Common alder

Betulaceae (Birch Family)

Alnus serrulata (Hazel alder)
Cox, Paul
A multiple-trunked, suckering shrub, 12-20 ft. tall, with a picturesque habit and shiny gray-brown bark. Summer foliage is dark green and glossy, becoming yellow, tinged with red, in fall. Flowers are purple catkins; males in drooping clusters, females in upright clusters. The fruit resembles a small, woody cone and persists through Feb. Sometimes a small tree, commonly found at edge of water.

The only alder native in southeastern United States, where it is common and widespread, forming thickets.

Image Gallery:

4 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Obovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Serrate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Catkin
Size Notes: Height to 15 feet.
Leaf: Dark green above, paler and finely hairy beneath.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown Cone like catkin 1/2 inch long.
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
Bloom Notes: Males green-brown, female reddish.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MS , MO , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , DC
Canada: NB , NS , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N. FL to e. TX, n. to s.w. N.S. (locally), c. ME, c. VT, OH, s. IL, & s.e. MO
Native Habitat: Stream banks; bogs; swamp borders; wet meadows

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet, fine sandy loams, peats & mucks.
Conditions Comments: Physiological problems are rare, however the wood is weak and breakage is common. Very flood tolerant. Alders fix nitrogen and thus serve as nutrient-giving pioneers in reclamation projects.


Use Wildlife: An intermediate source of food for wildlife.
Attracts: Birds

Last Update: 2013-09-07