Alnus rubra (Red alder). A fast-growing deciduous tree with smooth, grey mottled bark, which can reach up to 30m in height. The male catkins are crimson red and the female catkins are very small and green and turn into dark brown, cone-like fruit.
Woody perennial, Deciduous, Tree
North West America.
The name 'rubra' probably refers to the colour of the bark when it is scraped or bruised, turning it orange-red.
Interest and use
Hedging, banks, firewood, nitrogen fixing.
Indigenous Americans used the bark to camouflage their fishing nets.
In traditional medicine, the bark has been used to treat skin complaints, lymphatic disorders and TB. In modern medicine, the plant has been shown to contain chemical compounds effective in the reduction of tumours.
The wood is a traditional choice for smoking salmon because of its high oil content.