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ALNUS cordata

Image of Alnus cordata

Jesse Saylor

Family

Betulaceae

Botanical Name

ALNUS cordata

Plant Common Name

Italian Alder

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Glossy heart-like leaves and the persistent brown seed fruits make Italian alder a great shade tree with multi-season interest and grace. An upright deciduous tree that does not get too wide, it hails from southern Italy and Corsica. Its barks becomes light gray-sandy brown with shallow fissures and small plates, often blotched.

In early spring this tree flowers. The male flowers are in drooping, finger-like clusters called catkins and are yellow-green. The female flower are small and red and occur along the twigs. After wind pollination, the green cylindrical fruits form and ripen to a red-brown before shedding the seeds. The dried fruits persist on the branches into fall and winter. No notable fall leaf coloration occurs, but the foliage is only briefly deciduous, a plus in warm winter climates where some shade is always welcome.

Grow Italian alder in average garden soils that are moist to wet, or average well-draining. It is adaptable to acidic and alkaline soils as long as it has some fertility. This species is fast growing and also works well as a windbreak in addition to being a specimen shade tree for park or avenue. Its tolerance for occasionally floods makes it a good choice for along streams or retention ponds.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 6

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    35'-60' / 10.7m - 18.3m

  • Width

    20'-25' / 6.1m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Southern Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Red, Yellow Green

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Sienna

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes