My Colby-Sawyer Experience

“The best way to teach is to show children that you are interested in their lives, and Windy Hill is certainly a part of their lives, so that is where we started.”
Kate Callahan, Child Development major

Speckled Alder Alnus rugosa
Birch Betulaceae family

Leaves are egg-shaped, and double-toothed. The leaf bases are rounded to heart-shaped. They are a "beefy looking" thick leaf, 2 - 5" long. Underneath the leaves are usually much lighter.

Flowers/Fruit: There are two types of flowers on Speckled Alder. The female (pistillate) catkins are very short and droop in the winter. These become flowers which develop into seed-bearing cones (fruit) that are about 1/2" long and are present all winter. The male (staminate) catkins develop into tightly- packed catkins, approximately 1" long that flower and grow in the spring. The top left picture shows both male and female catkins, and the seed-bearing cones.

Bark is conspicuously speckled with horizontal, whitish, warty lenticels. It is a dark bark in color.

Form/Habitat: Speckled alder is a shrub, 6 - 12' high, and 1 -2" in diameter. It likes to be around wet places, and you will often find it along streams, marshes, and other wetland environments. On campus look for it on the Lodge side of Susan's Wetland.

Winter Identification: Speckled Alder twigs will usually show their cones and catkins all winter, and the buds are club-like with tiny white dots on them. Look for the speckled bark, too.

NWI Status: FACW+


Click here to return to the Angiosperm index.

Click here to return to the Virtual Herbarium Home Page.