Alnus maritima (Marsh.) Muhl. ex Nutt.

  • Family: Betulaceae (alders & birches)
  • Common name: seaside alder
  • Synonyms: Betula-alnus maritima, A. metroporina, A. maritima var. & ssp. metroporina

    Shrub or small tree to 6 m (20 ft) tall. Bark smooth, gray. Twigs slender, hairy when young, with 3-angled pith. Buds stalked, dark red, with three scales. Leaves elliptical, 6-10 cm (2.4-4 in) long and 3-5 cm (1.2-2 in) wide, finely serrate, with 5-8 curved veins on each side, shiny dark green above, pale green with minute dots below. Staminate catkins near ends of twigs, cylindrical, 4-6 cm (1.6-2.4 in) long, with numerous very small yellowish flowers in fall. Pistillate catkins near leaf bases, about 6 mm (1/4 in) long, elliptical, with very small greenish flowers in fall. Fruits conelike, short-stalked, elliptical, 15-20 mm (0.6-0.8 in) long, brown, hard, remaining attached.

    Distribution: Scattered and local in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and southcentral Oklahoma.
    Habitat: Moist soil near streams, usually on or near the streambank, often leaning over water.
    NWI status: Not listed for Region 6, listed as OBL in other regions.
    Comment: This species has a strange distribution that has not been satisfactorily explained. In Oklahoma, it is locally abundant on the upper Blue River and its tributaries in Johnston and Pontotoc Counties. Alnus is the old latin name for alder; maritima refers to the coastal habitat of the species in the eastern U. S.

    Distribution in Oklahoma:

    Last update: 9/8/99
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