Alnus glutinosa (European Alder, Black Alder) is a deciduous tree species belonging to the Betulaceae family. It is native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. The European Alder is known for its adaptability to wet soils and its ecological importance in riparian and wetland ecosystems.
The European Alder is a medium-sized tree that typically reaches heights of 50 to 80 feet (15 to 25 meters). It has a pyramidal shape when young, which becomes more rounded with age. The leaves are oval or elliptical in shape with serrated margins, and they are dark green in color. In autumn, the foliage can turn yellow before falling.
One of the notable features of the European Alder is its ability to tolerate wet and waterlogged soils. It is commonly found along riverbanks, lakeshores, wetlands, and other areas with high water availability. The tree's extensive root system helps stabilize soil, prevent erosion, and promote water infiltration.
The European Alder has a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria known as Frankia. This allows it to fix atmospheric nitrogen, enriching the soil with this essential nutrient. As a result, the European Alder plays a significant role in improving soil fertility and supporting the growth of other plants in its vicinity.
In addition to its ecological importance, the European Alder has various practical uses. Its wood is moderately hard, durable, and resistant to decay, making it suitable for construction, furniture, and woodworking. The tree is also valued for its ability to absorb excess nutrients and pollutants from water, contributing to water quality improvement in riparian areas.
The European Alder is commonly utilized in wetland restoration projects, streamside plantings, and habitat creation for wildlife. It provides habitat and food sources for various animal species, including birds and insects.
If you are considering planting trees in wet or riparian areas, or engaging in wetland restoration projects, the European Alder could be a suitable choice due to its adaptability and ecological benefits. However, it is always recommended to consult with local horticultural experts or native plant specialists to ensure the selection of appropriate species for your specific location and ecosystem.