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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Alnus cordata - Italian Alder

The Italian alder is a smaller more symmetrical tree than the common white alder. Growing 30' tall it forms a nice pyramidal shaped tree when young, turning oval with age. Most of the specimens seen around here are very narrow in habit and close to 30'.



Leaves are deciduous, simple, alternate, ovate to cordate, 2-4" long, dark glossy green with finely serrated margins. Lower surface may have small amount of brown hairs along the mid vein. Venation pattern not like that of the white alder.



Buds are stalked. Stems with small white lenticels.



Vegetative buds are more pointed, flower buds rounded.



Male flowers are arranged in catkins which overwinter. In early spring they elongate into a 2-3" long caterpillar looking inflorescence.



Females are very small, 1/4" long, emerge in spring at the ends of branches.



Fruit is in large 1" long clusters. Very "cone" like. Wildlife use the cones, but I don't know what for, maybe decorating.



Bark is smooth gray/silver eventually developing flattened areas with shallow fissures.



Misidentification:
Other alders. Look at the "cone", its the largest of all the Alders. Also, the leaves are very heart shaped, without deep venation.

Location
Aptos:
102 Pebble Beach

Temple Beth El on Soquel Drive and Porter Gulch Rd

Capitola:
Monterery Blvd at the sports field, there are 3-5 of them in the grass planing area. (There is an Alnus rhombifolia across the street in a residence front yard.)

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