Green Alder Alnus crispa
Family: Betulaceae (Birch)
Branching: Alternate
Other names: Mountain Alder, A. viridis ssp crispa

This Alder has a similar habitat and growth form as the much more common Speckled Alder, though it's more likely to be found on upland sites.  At first glance, it looks very similar in summer and winter.  However, it's bark does not have nearly as much speckling, the seed "cones" are on longer stalks, and most importantly, its buds are different.  While both are usually reddish in colour, Green Alder buds have three or four scales and are distinctly pointed, while Speckled Alder buds have rounded tips and only two scales.  Green Alder buds can also resemble Poplar or Serviceberry buds.

Winter twig of Green Alder.  Notice the pointed buds.  (The hairy twigs are variable and
are not necessarily diagnostic)

Another view of the winter twig

Closeup of a lateral bud

Seed "cones", which unlike Speckled Alder's are on individual stalks

Another view of a winter twig, showing immature catkins
(I took these pictures in late fall, before all the leaves had fallen)

Bark, without any obvious speckling

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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