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Alnus serrulata

Tag Alder / Hazel Alder

Tag alders bloom in March and April, long before the leaves appear. Both male and female flowers occur on one plant. The male catkins are purplish, opening to yellow-brown and hang down from the branches. The reddish female flowers are held in upright clusters. They are quite attractive in early spring. The fruit resembles mini pinecones and can be used in fall flower arrangements. This is a small tree or large shrub that is at home in moist to wet locations. Especially well suited to stream and pond edges.


 

Benefits

  • Great choice for stream banks, helps reduce erosion
  • Host plant for many moth varieties
  • Ruffed grouse, swamp sparrows and eastern goldfinch eat seeds and catkins
  • Dense branching provides cover and nesting for birds and other wildlife
  • Both the catkins and the seedpods are decorative

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Tag alders prefer part sun to light shade in moist to wet locations. In nature you will find them near riversides or streambanks where they help stabilize the soil. Alders fix nitrogen and thus serve as nutrient-giving pioneers in reclamation projects.  


Height
12-20 ft

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Spread
5-7 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9

Native Range

Found along stream banks, bogs, swamps and wet meadows.

Native Trivia

Native Americans used a tea made from the bark to treat diarrhea, coughs, toothaches, sore mouth, and to lessen the pain of child birth. The tea was also used as a wash for poison ivy. 

Characteristics & Attributes

Shade
Beneficial insects
Songbirds
Wet Sun
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Acidic
Heavy clay
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Mammals
Bloom Time
Early Spring
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Erosion control
Naturalizes
Ornamental fruit
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia