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Alnus rhombifolia - Nutt.

Common Name White Alder
Family Betulaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards The freshly harvested inner bark is emetic but is alright once it has been dried[172].
Habitats Usually found in rocky or gravelly soils along the sides of streams, in canyon bottomlands and gulches, from near sea level to 2400 metres[60, 229].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Alnus rhombifolia White Alder


Alnus rhombifolia White Alder
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Summary

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


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Alnus rhombifolia is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft 4in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen from October to January. 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 moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Inner bark
Edible Uses:

Catkins - raw or cooked. A bitter flavour[172]. Inner bark[257]. No more information is given, but inner bark is often dried and can be used as a flavouring in soups or can be mixed with cereal flours when making bread etc[K].

Medicinal Uses

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Astringent  Birthing aid  Diaphoretic  Emetic  Haemostatic  Skin  Stomachic  TB  
Tonic

The bark is astringent, diaphoretic, emetic, haemostatic, stomachic and tonic[172, 257]. A decoction of the dried bark is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, haemorrhages in consumption, stomach aches and to facilitate child birth[257]. Externally it can be used as a wash for babies with skin diseases, nappy rash etc[257]. A poultice of the wood is applied to burns[257].

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Other Uses

Baby care  Basketry  Dye  Fuel  Tannin  Wood

The bark and the strobils are a source of tannin[82]. The roots have been used to make baskets[257]. The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder then mixed with flour and water for use as a dye[257]. The colour is not specified[257]. The fresh bark can be chewed and used as a red dye[257]. Wood - light, soft, not strong, brittle, close and straight-grained, very durable in water[82]. It is of limited value as a low-grade lumber, but is used principally for fuel[229].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Massing, 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 fairly fast-growing but short-lived species, reaching its maximum size in 50 - 60 years[229]. 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:North American native, Wetlands plant, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

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The PFAF Bookshop

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
Alnus acuminataAlderTree25.0 10-12 FLMHSNM023
Alnus cordataItalian AlderTree25.0 5-9 FMHSNDMWe004
Alnus glutinosaAlder, European alder , Common Alder, Black AlderTree25.0 3-7 FMHSNMWe035
Alnus hirsuta Tree18.0 3-7  MHSNMWe00 
Alnus incanaGrey Alder, Speckled alder, Thinleaf alder, White AlderTree18.0 2-6 FMHSNDMWe003
Alnus japonicaJapanese AlderTree22.0 4-8 FMHSNDMWe01 
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 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

Nutt.

Botanical References

1160200

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