Common Alder is a common tree of riversides, fens and wet woodlands. The exposed roots of riverside Common Alders provide fish with shelter from predators or high flows, and their leaves provide food for invertebrates such as the larvae of caddis flies, stoneflies and water beetles. These, in turn, are preyed upon by fish including Salmon and Brown Trout. The wood of Common Alder does not rot under water, so was historically used for shoring-up canals and riverbanks. It was also used to make charcoal and clogs!
How to identify?
Alder has both male and female flowers – long, yellow-brown catkins and small, red ‘cones’ that ripen and harden when pollinated. Alder is easily recognised by the combination of habitat, rounded leaves and purplish buds.