Alder grows in a pyramid shape with dark green, glossy, rounded leaves. In early spring it produces yellow catkins. These are followed by clusters of woody fruits that look a bit like pinecone baubles on the bare branches over winter.
Alder improves the fertility of the soil where it grows, so it’s great for your garden.
Value to wildlife: It’s the only food plant for the caterpillars of several moths, including the alder kitten and blue bordered carpet moth. Catkins provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees, and the seeds are eaten by the siskin, redpoll and goldfinch.
Preferred conditions: Excels in damp areas, tolerates most conditions and soils. On dry soils it grows as a bush.
Height: 20 metres, grows about 60cm each year.