Alnus serrulata (Aiton) Willd.
Smooth alder, Hazel alder, Brookside alder, Tag alder, Common alder, Black alder
Betulaceae (Birch Family)
Synonym(s): Alnus incana var. serrulata, Alnus noveboracensis, Alnus serrulata var. subelliptica
USDA Symbol: alse2
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Obovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Serrate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
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 InformationBloom Color: Red , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr
Bloom Notes: Males green-brown, female reddish.
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV
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 ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
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.
BenefitUse Wildlife: An intermediate source of food for wildlife.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Alder native to Central Indiana
May 30, 2006
I am trying to find out whether there exists a plant named Alnus rugosa. I bought a plant recently that said Speckled Alder, Alnus serrulata (rugosa), but have been unable to determine if this is a c...
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
BibliographyBibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Alnus serrulata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Alnus serrulata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Alnus serrulata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-11-13
Research By: TWC Staff