Alnus serrulata

Shrub, perennial

Native: L 48, CAN

Blooming:  January, white, yellow

Catkins of the alder look similar that to that of the American hornbeam (Carpinus carolianana Walter).   In early January 2013, these alder catkins were blooming and the American hornbeam branches were still barren.   The seeds of the alder also resembles miniature pine-cones.  The alder is a nitrogen fixing shrub.  It is used for stream bank stabilization.

The hazel alder bark has  anti-inflammatory salicin which was used by native Americans as an antiseptic to disinfect cuts.  Its medicinal uses were extensive:  as an analgesic, blood purifier, cathartic, cough medicine,  emtic and purgative, for eyes, for biliousness and jaundice,  for heart trouble, piles, kidneys, thrash, toothaches, to clear milky urine. The inner bark of the alder was also mixed with chokeberry and red osier dogwood into a tobacco mix(kinnikinnick) and added to bearberry leaf for improved flavor.

The plant is host to the woolly alder aphid (Prociphilus tesselatus) on which the adult uncommon harvester butterfly larvae (Feniseca tarquinius)  feed.  The uncommon harvester is the only carnivorous butterfly caterpillar in the US.

Location:  N30 387   W084 3.572′ (2.0 RL) , N 30 055 W o84 33.215′ (1.2RL) , N30 327 W084 33.608′ (1.93RR)