Alnus incana (Speckled Alder) is a deciduous tree species that belongs to the Betulaceae family. It is native to North America, including regions of Canada and the northern United States. The Speckled Alder is known for its adaptability to wet and poorly drained soils.
The Speckled Alder is a small to medium-sized tree that typically grows to a height of 20 to 40 feet (6 to 12 meters). It has a multi-stemmed, shrub-like form with spreading branches.
The leaves are oval-shaped with serrated margins, and they are dark green in color, turning yellow in the fall before dropping. The bark of the tree is grayish-brown and develops small, raised spots or speckles, which give it the characteristic name "Speckled Alder."
One of the notable features of the Speckled Alder is its ability to tolerate and even thrive in wet or poorly drained soils, such as swamps, marshes, and riparian areas. It is commonly found along stream banks, lakeshores, and wetland edges. The tree's extensive root system helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion in these environments.
The Speckled Alder is also known for its ability to fix nitrogen through its symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This process enriches the soil with nitrogen, benefiting both the tree and surrounding vegetation.
While the Speckled Alder is not commonly used for commercial purposes or in traditional landscaping, it has ecological value in wetland restoration projects and streamside plantings. It provides habitat and food sources for various wildlife species and contributes to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem.
If you are considering planting trees in wet or poorly drained areas or engaging in wetland restoration projects, the Speckled Alder could be a suitable choice due to its adaptability to these conditions. 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.
Botanical Name : Alnus incana
Common Name : Speckled Alder
Height : 15 – 25 ft
Spread : 10 ft
Germination Info : Seed requires 60-120 days cold stratification
Hardiness zone : 2-6
Average seed per ounce : Approx. 37,500