* Leaves egg-shaped, double-toothed, not wavy, with rounded to heart-shaped
bases, 2-5". Undersides green and hairless but can be whitened and
* Bark dark, speckled with white lenticels.
* Fruits small, pine cone-like catkins on
slender stalks, usually present year-round.
* Height: 6-12'.
* Habitat: Streambanks, swamps.
* Range: Southeastern Canada to northeastern and central United States.
* Ptarmigan and sharptail grouse eat alder buds, while the twigs are
eaten by cottontail rabbits, muskrats, moose,
and deer. Some interesting insects
found on the plant are silver-spotted ghost moths and leaf-rolling
weevils, which roll up leaves to make nests for their larvae.
* Alders serve ecological purposes as well; they are often planted
on streambanks for erosion control.
* Native Americans used alder in many medicines. Tea made from
alder bark was used to treat diarrhea and toothache, and other
bark mixtures were applied to rashes, eyes, and swellings. Chippewa
Indians mixed alder root scrapings with ground-up bumblebees and
fed the appealing mixture to women undergoing difficult childbirths.