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Alnus incana - (L.)Moench.

Common Name Grey Alder, Speckled alder, Thinleaf alder, White Alder
Family Betulaceae
USDA hardiness 2-6
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mountains, especially on poor soil[17, 50].
Range Europe. Introduced in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
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

 

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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 February to March. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is 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 dry moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Betula alnus incana.

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

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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].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Nitrogen Fixer

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. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 6 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a standard with a non-suckering single trunk [1-2].

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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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

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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 NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
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Alnus hirsuta Tree18.0 3-7  MHSNMWe00 
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Alnus jorullensisMexican alder, Evergreen AlderTree25.0 7-12 FLMHSNMWe003
Alnus maritimaSeaside Alder, Beach AlderTree9.0 3-7 MMHNMWe00 
Alnus maximowiczii Tree9.0 4-8  MHSNMWe00 
Alnus nepalensisNepalese AlderTree22.0 8-11 FMHSNMWe01 
Alnus nitida Tree30.0 7-10  MHSNDMWe01 
Alnus rhombifoliaWhite AlderTree12.0 8-11 FMHSNMWe12 
Alnus rubraRed Alder, Oregon AlderTree20.0 7-8 FMHSNMWe22 
Alnus rugosaSpeckled AlderTree22.0 - FMHSNMWe023
Alnus serrulataSmooth Alder, Hazel alderShrub4.5 0-0  MHNMWe022
Alnus sinuataSitka AlderShrub4.0 - FMHSNMWe11 
Alnus tenuifoliaMountain Alder, Thinleaf alderTree9.0 5-7 FMHSNMWe12 
Alnus viridis crispaAmerican Green AlderShrub3.0 4-8  MHSNMWe12 

 

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Author

(L.)Moench.

Botanical References

1150200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Marinella Zepigi   Tue Jun 10 2008

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

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