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Uses

Edible uses

There are no edible uses listed for Alnus glutinosa.

Material uses

Tolerant of clipping and maritime exposure, the alder can be grown in a windbreak or a hedge[1]. The trees are very quick to establish[2] and will grow at a rate of 1 metre or more per year when young[K].

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]. Because they tolerate very poor soils and also produce nitrogen nodules on their roots, alders are suitable for use in land reclamation schemes. The plants can be used as a source of biomass[3]. According to the phytomass files, annual productivity is estimated at 6 to 9 tonnes per hectare. The tree has yielded 11.8 tonnes per hectare per annum on pulverized fuel ash and annual productivity has been estimated at 8.66 tonnes per hectare, with 5.87 tonnes in wood, bark, and branches, 2.79 tonnes in foliage[3]. Alder has been recommended for consideration for firewood plantations in Tropical highlands where unseasonable cold might destroy the red alder[3]. The powdered bark has been used as an ingredient of toothpastes[4]. Sticks of the bark have been chewed as tooth cleaners[4]. An ink and a tawny-red dye are obtained from the bark[5][6][7][8]. A green dye is obtained from the catkins[5][6][8]. A pinkish-fawn dye is obtained from the fresh green wood[5][6][8]. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark and young shoots[5][6][8]. A cinnamon dye is obtained from the shoots if they are harvested in March[5]. If they are dried and powdered then the colour will be a tawny shade[5]. The bark and the fruits contain up to 20% tannin[9][10][11], but they also contain so much dyestuff (imparting a dark red shade) that this limits their usefulness[5][7]. The leaves are also a good source of tannin[5]. The leaves are clammy and, if spread in a room, are said to catch fleas and flies on their glutinous surface[5][7].

Wood - very durable in water, elastic, soft, fairly light, easily worked, easily split. It is often used for situations where it has to remain underwater and is also used for furniture, pencils, bowls, woodcuts, clogs etc. It is much valued by cabinet makers[5][7][12][13][14][9][8][15][16]. The wood also makes a good charcoal[5][16].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark is alterative, astringent, cathartic, febrifuge and tonic[5][7][17][9][3]. The fresh bark will cause vomiting, so use dried bark for all but emetic purposes[18]. A decoction of the dried bark is used to bathe swellings and inflammations, especially of the mouth and throat[5][4][18][19]. The powdered bark and the leaves have been used as an internal astringent and tonic, whilst the bark has also been used as an internal and external haemostatic against haemorrhage[18]. The dried bark of young twigs are used, or the inner bark of branches 2 - 3 years old[4]. It is harvested in the spring and dried for later use[4].

Boiling the inner bark in vinegar produces a useful wash to treat lice and a range of skin problems such as scabies and scabs[18]. The liquid can also be used as a toothwash[18].

The leaves are astringent, galactogogue and vermifuge[7]. They are used to help reduce breast engorgement in nursing mothers[19]. A decoction of the leaves is used in folk remedies for treating cancer of the breast, duodenum, oesophagus, face, pylorus, pancreas, rectum, throat, tongue, and uterus[3]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and used fresh[20].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Canopy

Ecological Functions

Hedge


Pioneer


Windbreak


Soil builder


Nitrogen fixer

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered[2]. 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. There are about 700,000 - 750,000 seeds per kilo, but on average only about 20 - 25,000 plantable seedlings are produced[3]. Seeds can remain viable for at least 12 months after floating in water[3]. Seeds germinate as well under continuous darkness as with normal day lengths. Air-dried seeds stored at 1 - 2°C retained their viability for two years. Seeds can however be sown immediately as soon as ripe[3].

If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring[21]. 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.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Alnus glutinosa. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation[22][12], tolerating prolonged submergence of its roots and periods with standing water to 30cm deep[23][2]. Plants can also grow quickly in much drier sites, though they will usually not live for so long in such a position. Alders grow well in heavy clay soils[24][25], they also tolerate lime and very infertile sites[2]. Tolerates a wide range of soils but prefers a pH above 6[23]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[26][1][27]. Alder is estimated to tolerate an annual precipitation of 40 to 200cm, an annual average temperature of 8 to 14°C and a pH of 6 to 8[3].

The leaves often remain green on the tree until November, or even later on young seedlings. The seeds contain a margin of air-filled tissue and are capable of floating in water for 30 days before becoming waterlogged[23]. This enables distribution of the seed by water. The alder has a very rapid early growth[25], specimens 5 years old from seed were 4 metres tall even though growing in a very windy site in Cornwall[K]. 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[25][2]. Nitrogen-fixation by trees up to 8 years old has been put at 125 kg/ha/yr., for 20 years at 56 - 130 kg/ha/yr.[3]. Trees often produce adventitious roots from near the base of the stem and these give additional support in unstable soils[23]. Trees are very tolerant of cutting and were at one time much coppiced for their wood which had a variety of uses[5][23]. Alders are an important food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species[28] and also for small birds in winter[24].There are 90 insect species associated with this tree[24].

There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value[2]

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Alnus glutinosa. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Alnus glutinosa.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Alnus glutinosa
Genus
Alnus
Family
Betulaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
3
Heat Zone
?
Water
high
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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"image:Alnus glutinosa tervaleppä lehti.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Alnus glutinosa tervaleppä lehti.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


"image:Alnus glutinosa tervaleppä lehti.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Alnus glutinosa tervaleppä lehti.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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References

  1. ? 1.01.11.2 Rosewarne experimental horticultural station. Shelter Trees and Hedges. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1984-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.42.52.62.7 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  3. ? 3.003.013.023.033.043.053.063.073.083.093.103.11 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.54.6 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  5. ? 5.005.015.025.035.045.055.065.075.085.095.105.115.125.135.145.15 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (1979-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.57.67.7 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.5 Freethy. R. From Agar to Zenery. The Crowood Press ISBN 0-946284-51-2 (1985-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Rottsieper. E.H.W. Vegetable Tannins The Forestal Land, Timber and Railways Co. Ltd. (1946-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.3 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Hills. L. Comfrey Report. Henry Doubleday Research Ass. ()
  15. ? 15.015.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.116.2 Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
  17. ? 17.017.1 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
  18. ? 18.018.118.218.318.418.5 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  19. ? 19.019.119.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  20. ? 20.020.1 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  21. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  22. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  23. ? 23.023.123.223.323.4 Beckett. G. and K. Planting Native Trees and Shrubs. Jarrold (1979-00-00)
  24. ? 24.024.124.2 Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. ()
  25. ? 25.025.125.2 Gordon. A. G. and Rowe. D. C. f. Seed Manual for Ornamental Trees and Shrubs. ()
  26. ? Arnold-Forster. Shrubs for the Milder Counties. ()
  27. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
  28. ? Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. Pan ISBN 0-330-26642-x (1982-00-00)
  29. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-17

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Facts about "Alnus glutinosa"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyBetulaceae +
Belongs to genusAlnus +
Functions asHedge +, Pioneer +, Windbreak +, Soil builder + and Nitrogen fixer +
Has common nameAlder +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has environmental toleranceMaritime exposure + and High wind +
Has fertility typeWind +
Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone3 +
Has imageAlnus glutinosa tervaleppä lehti.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useCharcoal +, Dye +, Ink +, Insecticide +, Tannin +, Dental care + and Wood +
Has mature height25 +
Has mature width10 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAlterative +, Astringent +, Cathartic +, Emetic +, Febrifuge +, Galactogogue +, Haemostatic +, Parasiticide +, Skin +, Tonic + and Vermifuge +
Has primary imageAlnus glutinosa tervaleppä lehti.jpg +
Has search namealnus glutinosa + and x +
Has shade toleranceLight shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teheavy clayture preferenceHeavy clay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameAlnus glutinosa +
Has water requirementshigh +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates maritime exposureYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +