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Alnus rubra - Bong.
                 
Common Name Red Alder, Oregon Alder
Family Betulaceae
USDA hardiness 7-8
Known Hazards The freshly harvested inner bark is emetic but is alright once it has been dried[172].
Habitats Moist rich soils in woods, usually below 600 metres and within 50 km of the coast[60, 82, 229].
Range Western N. America - Alaska to California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Alnus rubra Red Alder, Oregon Alder


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Alnus rubra Red Alder, Oregon Alder
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Alnus rubra is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft 7in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. 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.
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 moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms
A. oregona.

Habitats
Woodland Garden Canopy; Hedge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Inner bark;  Sap.
Edible Uses:

Catkins - raw or cooked. They are rich in protein but have a bitter flavour and are not very palatable[172]. Inner bark - cooked, It must be dried since it is emetic when fresh[105, 161, 177]. No more details are given but inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[K]. Sap - raw[118]. Harvested in late winter, the flow is best on a warm, sunny day that follows a cold frosty night. A sweet flavour, it was often used to sweeten other foods[257]. Buds[105, 177]. No further information is given, does this refer to the flower buds or leaf buds?[K]
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.

Anodyne;  Appetizer;  Astringent;  Cathartic;  Cytostatic;  Febrifuge;  Skin;  Stomachic;  
TB;  Tonic.

Red alder was widely employed medicinally by native North American Indians who mainly used the bark to treat a wide range of complaints[257]. The plant is little used in modern herbalism[K]. The bark is appetizer, astringent, cathartic, cytostatic, emetic, stomachic and tonic[61, 172, 257]. The bark contains salicin[226], which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body[213]. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge[226]. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of many complaints such as headaches, rheumatic pains, internal injuries and diarrhoea[226, 257]. Externally, a poultice of the bark has been applied to eczema, sores and aches[257]. The sap is applied externally to cuts[257]. The catkins and young cones are astringent and have been chewed in the treatment of diarrhoea[257].
Other Uses
Charcoal;  Dye;  Fuel;  Hedge;  Pioneer;  Shelterbelt;  Soil stabilization;  Tannin;  Wood.

A fast-growing and very wind resistant tree, it is an excellent plant for providing rapidly produced shelterbelts[K]. The trees extensive root system also makes it suitable for controlling erosion along the banks of rivers[226]. This is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc[226]. 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]. Tannin is obtained from the bark and the strobils[82]. Both the roots and the young shoots have been used in making baskets[257]. A red to brown dye is obtained from the bark[61, 118, 257]. Wood - soft, brittle, not strong, light, close and straight-grained, very durable in water[82]. An important lumber tree, it makes a good imitation mahogany[60, 103] and is used for cheap furniture etc[46, 61, 82, 171, 229]. A good fuel, it does not spark so can be used in the open[60, 118, 172], it also makes a high grade charcoal[103].
Cultivation details
Agroforestry Services: Alley crop;  Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen;  Fodder: Bank;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Standard;  Regional Crop.

Landscape Uses:Border, Erosion control, Woodland garden. Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation[1, 11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils[11]. Tolerates very infertile sites[200]. A very wind resistant tree with excellent establishment in severely exposed sites, it tolerates severe maritime exposure[75, K]. The red alder is a very fast growing tree, even when planted in severe exposure[75, 229, K], but it is short-lived, dying when 60 - 80 years old[229]. Trees that are 5 years old from seed have reached 6 metres in height on a very exposed site in Cornwall, they are showing no signs of wind-shaping[K]. This is an important pioneer tree, quickly invading logged or burnt over sites, and providing ideal conditions for other trees to become established[229, K]. A very ornamental tree[1]. 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]. Red alder has been estimated to fix as much as 300 kg of nitrogen per hectare[269]. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, 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.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Alnus cordataItalian Alder00
Alnus glutinosaAlder, European alder , Common Alder, Black Alder03
Alnus hirsuta 00
Alnus incanaGrey Alder, Speckled alder, Thinleaf alder, White Alder00
Alnus japonicaJapanese Alder01
Alnus maritimaSeaside Alder, Beach Alder00
Alnus maximowiczii 00
Alnus nepalensisNepalese Alder01
Alnus nitida 01
Alnus rhombifoliaWhite Alder12
Alnus rugosaSpeckled Alder02
Alnus serrulataSmooth Alder, Hazel alder02
Alnus sinuataSitka Alder11
Alnus tenuifoliaMountain Alder, Thinleaf alder12
Alnus viridis crispaAmerican Green Alder12
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Expert comment
 
Author
Bong.
Botanical References
1160200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Peter Gibbons Thu Jan 19 2006

Find additional information about this plant at SunnyGardens.com

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Subject : Alnus rubra  

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