Alnus viridis ssp. sinuata (Sitka Alder)


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Plant Description: This plant is a fast-growing, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub usually forming dense thickets. The bark is thin, smooth, and reddish brown turning dark gray with age. Leaves are shiny green with a slightly sticky underside and edges with fine long pointed teeth. Male catkins form on the tips of branches drooping about 4 in. On the same twig, the female cone-like catkins bloom from late spring to mid-summer. The seeds are surrounded by papery wings. Sitka alder has a shallow root system.

  • Height: 8-15ft
  • Width: 6-10ft
  • Watering needs: regular 
  • Sun needs: full sun to part shade 
  • Soil needs: moist to wet
  • Bloom Time: catkins from late spring to midsummer

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: A native plant, Sitka Alder can be found along streams, in damp woods, and on moist mountain slopes where the soil remains moist all year. It grows at middle elevations 1640 ft but prefers the moist cool sites of higher elevations 3000-7000 ft. We recommend growing this plant in woodland and rain gardens.

Sitka Alder has the ability to fix nitrogen, increasing the fertility of soil, and is valuable for slope stabilization and erosion control on steep slopes and stream banks. It is also an excellent choice for creating wildlife habitat. It is moderately shade tolerant.

*Photo by SevenOaks Nursery*

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