Alder, Speckled

Alnus rugosa
A shrub found in clumps, usually near water. To 20’ tall, individual trunks to 4” in diameter. The gray bark is smooth, the younger branches and twigs white-speckled. The twigs and leafstalks are often hairy. The alternate stalked leaves are egg-shaped and saw-toothed, dark green above and whitish below. The veins are sunken on the upper surface. The tiny flowers are in catkins, the 2½” male catkins dangling from twigs and the much shorter, more upright female catkins in 2's and 3's at the twig tips. They mature into ½” brownish cones bearing winged nutlets. Flowers April, May.

Alders characteristically have male and female catkins and mature cones present at the same time. The sunken veins on the upper leaf surface and the white speckled bark identify this species.