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Alnus incana - (L.)Moench.                
                 
Common Name Grey Alder, Speckled alder, Thinleaf alder, White Alder
Family Betulaceae
Synonyms Betula alnus incana.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mountains, especially on poor soil[17, 50].
Range Europe. Introduced in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: Purple, Red. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Alnus incana is a deciduous Tree growing to 18 m (59ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. It is in flower from Feb to March. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.


USDA hardiness zone : 2-6


Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Alnus incana Grey Alder, Speckled alder, Thinleaf alder, White Alder


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:374_Alnus_incana.jpg
Alnus incana Grey Alder, Speckled alder, Thinleaf alder, White Alder
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Canopy; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses                                         
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known
Other Uses
Pioneer;  Soil reclamation;  Tannin;  Wood.

This species fixes atmospheric nitrogen and is also tolerant of polluted soils, it can be used for land reclamation, especially on coal tips[200]. This is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc. Its fast rate of growth means that it quickly provides sheltered conditions to allow more permanent woodland trees to become established. In addition, bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen - whilst this enables the tree to grow well in quite poor soils it also makes some of this nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. Alder trees also have a heavy leaf canopy and when the leaves fall in the autumn they help to build up the humus content of the soil. Alder seedlings do not compete well in shady woodland conditions and so this species gradually dies out as the other trees become established[K]. The bark and the fruits contain up to 20% tannin[46, 61, 223]. Wood - light, soft, fairly elastic, easy to split. Used for clogs, bowls, woodcuts etc. Much valued by cabinet makers[46, 61].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Pollard, Specimen. Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation[1, 11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils[11]. Thrives in drier soils than many other members of this genus[200]. Tolerates very infertile sites[200]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Wetlands plant, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered[200]. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered[200, K]. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring[78]. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(L.)Moench.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1150200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[50]? Flora Europaea
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[223]Rottsieper. E.H.W. Vegetable Tannins
A fairly detailed treatise on the major sources of vegetable tannins.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Marinella Zepigi Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Alnus incana (L.) Moench - Description - Photos

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