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A picture of a Common Alder

Common Alder

Alnus glutinosa

Also known as

Black Alder, Gwernen, European Alder, Aar, Aller, Alder

Alnus glutinosa (Schwarzerle) by AEngelhardt (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








50 years to reach maturity


    • spring
    • summer
    • autumn
    • winter

    This plant has no fragrance

    More images of Common Alder

    A green Alnus glutinosa plant in a garden
    A close up of a Alnus glutinosa plant
    An Alnus glutinosa plant

    Common Alder Overview

    Alnus glutinosa is a tough and fast-growing deciduous tree species from the Betulaceae family. Pendant catkins appear in late winter/early spring before it's sticky green leaves and brown woody, cone-like fruits in autumn. It is a fantastic provider of food and shelter to wildlife, with a number of insects, lichen and fungi being completely dependent on the tree. Commonly known by the names Common Alder, Alder and Black Alder. The leaves are rounded, with serrated edges, arranged alternately on stems. The bark and cones were once used for tanning leather and a decoction of the leaves was used in folk remedies. Timber from the tree has been used for underwater foundations and in the production of paper and fiber board.

    Common problems with Common Alder

    Can suffer from Psylla alni (Alder sucker), Fenusa dohrnii (Alder leaf miner)

    How to harvest Common Alder

    Generally not harvested

    How to propagate Common Alder


    Stratify seeds by placing them in the fridge for 4 weeks, direct sow or in pots shallowly in April.


    Take hardwood cuttings in winter

    Other uses of Common Alder

    A low maintenance tree very happy in wet soils it can be planted as part of a mixed hedge/screen or windbreak and is frequently planted in wildlife gardens or wildflower meadows on river and lake banks or other damp places. Able to grow in poor soils, assisted by symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing bacterium in the roots (Frankia alni) it is frequently used in land reclamation.

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    With a little formative work these trees can be trained into multi- stemmed specimens.

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