Alnus Rubra (Red Alder)


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Plant Description: This plant is fast growing, with an open, broadly pyramidal or dome-shaped crown with branches slender and spreading. Usually grows around 30 ft but can be taller. The green leaves are elliptic to ovate with leaf margins double serrated and rolled under. Male catkins pendulant and female catkins are cone like, short, thick and born upright. Alnus rubra’s red flowers bloom around March. The thin bark is generally smooth, ashy gray to grayish-brown.

  • Height: 30-50ft
  • Width: 20-30ft
  • Watering needs: moderate to moist
  • Sun needs: full sun to partial shade
  • Soil needs: tolerates a variety of soil
  • Bloom Time: March
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: Pure stands of this native plant are typically limited to stream bottoms and lower slopes. It is more widely distributed within mixed evergreen forests and redwood forests in coastal areas and will tolerate salty brackish water. Red alder is generally found within 125 mi of the ocean and at elevations below 2,400 ft.

This plant is great for food forests along with woodland and rain gardens. It is excellent for creating habitat and attracting wildlife. Most seeds remain on the tree well into the fall and winter months, providing valuable resources for seed-eating birds, insects and mammals. It is also a high nitrogen fixer from both its roots and leaf litter.

*2nd photo by SevenOaks Nursery*

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