Speckled Alder
Alnus rugosa
Family Corylaceae

* Leaves egg-shaped, double-toothed, not wavy, with rounded to heart-shaped bases, 2-5". Undersides green and hairless but can be whitened and velvety.
* Bark dark, speckled with white lenticels.
* Fruits small, pine cone-like catkins on slender stalks, usually present year-round.
* Height: 6-12'.

Natural History:
* Habitat: Streambanks, swamps.
* Range: Southeastern Canada to northeastern and central United States.
* Native.

* 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.


Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008