Large shrub or small tree to 6 m (20 ft) tall and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter. Bark smoothish, dark gray to brown. Twigs slender, hairy when young, with 3-angled pith. Buds stalked, dark red, with three non-overlapping scales. Leaves elliptical or obovate, 5-11 cm (2-4.4 in) long and 3-7 cm (1.2-2.8 in) wide, finely serrate, with 3-12 nearly straight parallel veins on each side, glabrous dull green above, pale green and usually hairy on veins below. Staminate catkins near ends of twigs, cylindrical, 4-6 cm (1.6-2.4 in) long, with numerous very small yellowish flowers in early spring before leaves. Pistillate catkins in clusters, elliptical, with very small greenish flowers in early spring. Fruits conelike, short-stalked in clusters of 4-10, elliptical, 10-15 mm (0.4-0.6 in) long, brown, hard, remaining attached.
Distribution: Common in most of the eastern third of the U. S., except the northern border.
Habitat: Moist soil near streams, usually on or near the streambank.
NWI status: OBL
Comment: The seeds are eaten by birds. Alnus is the old latin name for alder; serrulata refers to the finely-toothed leaf margins.
Distribution in Oklahoma:
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Last update: 9/8/99
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