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Speckled Alder Alnus incana ssp. rugosa (Alnus rugosa)


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Speckled Alder, leaves and immature female fruit
credit: Quadell/CCSA

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Family: Betulaceae, Birch view all from this family

Description Speckled alder is usually a large shrub but sometimes may attain a height of 20 ft. and a diameter of 4 to 5 in. It is exceedingly common along streams or swamps of the northeast. The leaves are alternate, 2 to 4 in. long, broadly elliptical to oval, and coarsely doubly serrate, almost to the point of being lobed. The woody cones are persistent until the following season and may usually be seen on the twigs. Perhaps the best feature for recognizing this species is the plainly visible triangular pith (in cross section). This alder growing in such abundance along streams serves to protect the banks from excessive erosion and also furnishes cover for small game birds. It ranges from Newfoundland to northwestern Canada, south to Pennsylvania and Nebraska.

Habitat Swamps (fresh & salt), Watersides (fresh).

Range Rocky Mountains, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, California, Great Lakes, Northwest, New England, Plains, Southwest, Alaska, Mid-Atlantic.