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Useful Temperate Plants

Alnus cordata

(Loisel.) Duby

Betulaceae

+ Synonyms

Alnus cordata Desf.

Alnus cordifolia Ten.

Alnus macrocarpa Req. ex Nyman

Alnus neapolitana Savi

Alnus nervosus Dippel

Alnus obcordata C.A.Mey. ex Steud.

Alnus rotundifolia Bertol.

Betula cordata Loisel.

Common Name: Italian Alder

Alnus cordata
Drawing of the leaves, flowers, fruit and seed
Photograph by: Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, vol. 142 [ser. 4, vol. 12]: t. 8658 (1916) [M. Smith]
Creative Commons License

General Information

Alnus cordata is a deciduous tree with a compact, dense pyramidal crown; it can grow up to 25 metres tall. The long, straight bole can be 70 - 80cm in diameter[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
1062
Title
European Atlas of Forest Tree Species
Publication
 
Author
Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz et al
Website
http://bookshop.europa.eu
Publisher
European Union
Year
2016
ISBN
978-92-79-36740-3
Description
Detailed information on 76 species of European trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of wood. It is grown as a pioneer species to restore native woodland and makes an excellent shelterbelt tree. Where space is available, it is grown as an ornamental[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
This species has a limited natural range, but most of the range of this species occurs in protected areas. It also spreads readily and rapidly, and has become naturalised in much of Europe. It is therefore not considered to be threatened, however some threats have been identified, including; a reduction in clear cutting practices in protected areas which could have a negative impact on population growth, competition from other species, climate change at lower altitudes, and root rot caused by the pathogen Phytophthora alni. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Europe - southern Italy, Corsica, Albania

Habitat

Open areas in hill and montane forests, often colonizing open Pine woods and bare soils after fires or landslides; at elevations from 300 - 1,500 metres[
1062
Title
European Atlas of Forest Tree Species
Publication
 
Author
Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz et al
Website
http://bookshop.europa.eu
Publisher
European Union
Year
2016
ISBN
978-92-79-36740-3
Description
Detailed information on 76 species of European trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height25.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Alnus cordata is native to the warm temperate region of southern Italy, but also grows well in cooler regions of the temperate zone. It requires a mean annual rainfall of 1,000mm or more for it to thrive.
Prefers a sunny position in a moist, fertile soil. Thrives on poor and dryish soils, even on chalk, but prefers to be near water[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates very infertile sites[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
A very ornamental tree[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
], it is very fast growing, reaching 12 metres tall in 20 years in an exposed maritime position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall[
75
Title
Shelter Trees and Hedges.
Publication
 
Author
Rosewarne experimental horticultural station.
Publisher
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A small booklet packed with information on trees and shrubs for hedging and shelterbelts in exposed maritime areas.
]. Very tolerant of salt winds, it establishes rapidly in exposed positions[
75
Title
Shelter Trees and Hedges.
Publication
 
Author
Rosewarne experimental horticultural station.
Publisher
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A small booklet packed with information on trees and shrubs for hedging and shelterbelts in exposed maritime areas.
].
Trees can be coppiced with rotations of 15 - 20 years to provide biomass, pulp, fuel etc, or can be grown as high forest and cut when 70 - 80 years old for timber[
1062
Title
European Atlas of Forest Tree Species
Publication
 
Author
Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz et al
Website
http://bookshop.europa.eu
Publisher
European Union
Year
2016
ISBN
978-92-79-36740-3
Description
Detailed information on 76 species of European trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

An excellent windbreak for maritime areas[
75
Title
Shelter Trees and Hedges.
Publication
 
Author
Rosewarne experimental horticultural station.
Publisher
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A small booklet packed with information on trees and shrubs for hedging and shelterbelts in exposed maritime areas.
], it grows quite quickly and establishes well even in very windy sites[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Trees 5 years old from seed have reached 4 metres in height and are showing no signs of wind-shaping in a very exposed site in Cornwall[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
This is an excellent pioneer species for protecting the soil and re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc. Its fast rate of growth means that it quickly provides sheltered conditions to allow more permanent woodland trees to become established. In addition, bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen - whilst this enables the tree to grow well in quite poor soils it also makes some of this nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. Alder trees also have a heavy leaf canopy and when the leaves fall in the autumn they help to build up the humus content of the soil. Alder seedlings do not compete well in shady woodland conditions and so this species gradually dies out as the other trees become established[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
It has largely been utilised in central Italy for the reforestation of badly drained and wet soils, and for agro-forestry purposes. In recent decades,it has been widely used in Italy as a shelter species for walnut (Juglans regia), wild cherry (Prunus avium) and other noble hardwoods in intensive forest tree-farming programmes[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Other Uses

The pseudo-cones are used as Christmas floral ornaments[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

The wood is a light tan to reddish brown, homogeneous, with a fine, even grain and with relatively wide annual rings. It can be used for construction purposes in wet conditions as the wood is virtually resistant to decay under water. It has been used for foundation poles for houses and bridges in Venice. The timber is also used for carving as well as for the production of moulding, furniture, panelling and plywood[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
,
1062
Title
European Atlas of Forest Tree Species
Publication
 
Author
Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz et al
Website
http://bookshop.europa.eu
Publisher
European Union
Year
2016
ISBN
978-92-79-36740-3
Description
Detailed information on 76 species of European trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The wood can also be used for firewood[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring.
If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
]. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them.
Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-19. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Alnus+cordata>

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