Common Shrub Species of the Northwest Forest






Terminology | Pictorial

Alnus crispa
Green Alder
Betulaceae (Birch Family)


General - A tall and spreading shrub, 3 - 8 m tall; bark thin, dull, reddish to greyish brown, smooth or slightly grooved; twigs slender, yellowish green to reddish brown, coated with very short grey hairs; buds slender, stalked, covered with grey hairs.

Green Alder Leaves - Opposite, simple, 6 - 8 cm wide, 3-lobed, end lobe triangular; coarsely and irregularly single-toothed; yellowish green above, with soft, whitish hairs below; stalk slender, reddish, usually longer than blade.

Flowers - : In dense upright clusters at branchlet tips; sexes in separate flowers usually in same flower cluster; flowers are small, pale yellowish green; appear after leaves in late May to early June.

Fruit - Samaras, often brilliant red; wings 2 -3 cm long, with acute angle (less than 90 degrees) between them; seed portion indented on 1 side; mature in late summer.


Well-drained, moist soils along streams, in ravines and on moist hillsides in eastern forests; common on recently cut-over forest land; from lake country of Manitoba to eastern Saskatchewan and NW Ontario.


Can sometimes be confused with the Speckled Alder and shrub occurrences of the Paper Birch. The stalked cones of the Green Alder stand it apart from these species; the leaf margins with fine, regularly spaced teeth contrast with the coarsely, double-toothed leaf margins of the Speckled Alder and the leaves are less taper-pointed than those of the Paper Birch.

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