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ALNUS incana 'Aurea'

Image of Alnus incana 'Aurea'

Jesse Saylor



Botanical Name

ALNUS incana 'Aurea'

Plant Common Name

Golden Thinleaf Alder

Special Notice

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

General Description

Ranging from a large shrub to a medium sized tree, golden thinleaf alder has red and golden pendent flowers (catkins), yellow-green foliage and persistent fruit nutlets and smooth bark that make it interesting even in winter. A deciduous large shrub to small tree depending on severity of winter or availability of soil moisture, this species is native to Europe and the Caucausus as well as in North America from California to Canada and across the northern United States. The bark is usually smooth and gray, brown or sienna in color but in age can become more platy. Young twigs usually are attractively orange-red.

In late winter to early spring, clusters of catkins (or drooping, finger-like flower strands) appear before the leaves. These more obvious reddish to golden brown catkins are the male flowers and will be pollinated by the wind. The less obvious female catkins are borne nearby. The females develop oval fruits that are green and the turn brown and linger over the winter, not to open and shed the seeds until the next summer. After flowers, the leaves emerge. They are oval and bright chartreuse with teethed edges and a hairy, grayish underside, maturing to a more somber yellow-green to pale green. The veins in the leaves are obvious, too.

Grow golden thinleaf alder in full sun to partial shade in average to nutrient depleted soils that are moist to wet. Often used to help in restoration plantings, this tree is tolerant of cold. dry soil and moderate drought. It can be used as a fast-growing shade tree or an effective windbreak. To accentuate the foliage color on this cultivar, plant in front of a dark evergreen hedge or dark building.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 6

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-35' / 6.1m - 10.7m

  • Width

    12'-16' / 3.7m - 4.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, United Kingdom, Turkey, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage


  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    Gold, Sandy Brown

  • Fruit Color

    Olive, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Chartreuse, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green, Brown

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Chocolate

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing