Common Names in English:
Beach Alder, Seaside Alder, Brook Alder
deciduous, monoecious. Stipules present, free
, often deciduous, rarely persistent
. Leaves alternate, simple
, usually doubly serrate, rarely simply serrate, lobulate
, or entire; veins pinnate. Flowers unisexual
. Male inflorescence precocious
, pendulous, with numerous
overlapping bracts; each bract usually subtending
a small dichasium with 1-3 male flowers; stamens as many as and opposite sepals or, if sepals obsolete
, then stamens of inflorescence to 20; filaments
very short, connate
or nearly so; anthers
2-loculed, thecae connate or separate, opening by longitudinal
slits. Female inflorescence pendulous or erect
, with numerous overlapping bracts; each bract subtending a small dichasium with 2 or 3 flowers; calyx with 1-6 scalelike lobes
, or obsolete; petals absent; ovary inferior, 2-loculed; styles 2, free; ovules 2, or 1 by abortion
, pendulous from near apex of each locule. Fruit a nut or nutlet
or not. Seed 1, with straight embryo and flat or thickened cotyledons, without endosperm.
Six genera and 150-200 species: mainly in Asia, Europe, and North and South America; six genera (one endemic) and 89 species (56 endemic) in China.
Because of evolutionary divergence within the Betulaceae, the family has often been divided into tribes (i.e. , Betuleae, Carpineae, and Coryleae) or more recently into subfamilies (J. J. Furlow, J. Arnold Arbor . 71: 1-67. 1990) .
, to 35 m
usually several, branching excurrent to deliquescent. Bark
of trunks and branches light gray to dark brown, thin, smooth
, close; lenticels
often present, pale
, sometimes horizontally expanded. Wood
nearly white, turning reddish upon exposure to air
, moderately light and soft, texture
fine. Branches, branchlets
, and twigs
nearly 2-ranked to diffuse
; young twigs uniform or ( Alnus subg. Alnobetula ) differentiated into long and short shoots
. Winter buds
(nearly sessile in Alnus subg. Alnobetula ), narrowly to broadly ovoid
, apex acute to rounded
, or ( Alnus subg. Alnobetula ) several, imbricate, smooth, or ( Alnus subg. Clethropsis ) sometimes none. Leaves borne on long or short shoots, 3-ranked to nearly 2-ranked. Leaf blade
, thin to leathery, base
variable, cuneate to rounded, margins
doubly serrate, serrate, serrulate
, or nearly entire, apex variable, acute to obtuse
or acuminate to rounded; surfaces glabrous
, abaxially sometimes resinous-glandular. Inflorescences: staminate
, in racemose clusters
or ( Alnus subg. Clethropsis ) solitary, formed ( Alnus subg. Alnus and Clethropsis ) during previous growing season
and exposed or enclosed in buds during winter, or ( Alnus subg. Clethropsis ) formed and expanding during same growing season, expanding before or with leaves; pistillate
to staminate catkins, solitary or in relatively small racemose clusters, erect
to nearly pendulous, ovoid to ellipsoid, firm; scales and flowers crowded, developing and maturing at same time as staminate catkins. Staminate flowers
in catkins, 3 per scale; stamens (3--) 4(--6) ; anthers
undivided. Pistillate flowers usually 2 per scale. Infructescences
erect or pendulous; scales persistent long after release
of fruits, with 5 lobes
, greatly thickened, woody. Fruits tiny samaras, lateral wings 2, leathery or membranaceous
, reduced or essentially absent in some species. x
Species ca. 25 (8 sp: forested temperate and boreal Northern Hemisphere; North America; Asia.
Alders resemble birches but are easily distinguished from them by the infructescences, which consist of persistent , 5-lobed, woody scales (versus deciduous, 3-lobed, thin scales). Except in members of Alnus subg. Alnobetula Petermann (which have nearly sessile buds with several imbricate scales), alders are also distinctive in their stipitate buds bearing two stipular scales. The fruits, borne two to a scale, are laterally winged , although the wings are sometimes reduced or absent.
The genus is diverse , including several very distinct lines of specialization. The shrubby or arborescent Alnus subg. Alnus is characterized by winter buds with long stalks and two valvate scales, inflorescences borne in racemose clusters, and development of both pistillate and staminate inflorescences during the growing season prior to anthesis , with these fully exposed during winter. It includes the common A. rubra, A. incana, A. oblongifolia, and A. serrulata. Alnus subg. Alnobetula (represented in North America by three subspecies of A. viridis ) consists of shrubby species of cold-climate regions. In this group, the buds are nearly sessile and covered by several imbricate scales. Both staminate and pistillate catkins are formed the season before anthesis, but only the staminate ones are exposed during winter. The predominantly Asian Alnus subg. Clethropsis (Spach) Regel is represented in America by a single species, A. maritima, a small tree or large shrub of stream banks, marshes, and the shores of shallow lakes . Members of this group are unique in that they bloom in autumn rather than spring . They also differ from other native species in Alnus in having essentially naked buds, leaves with semicraspedodromous venation (i.e. , with the secondary veins branching and anastomosing with each other near the margin before reaching the teeth), and solitary pistillate inflorescences borne in the axils of foliage leaves. All of the alders associate symbiotically with species of the actinomycete Frankia, leading to the formation of nodules on the roots of the plants and the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen.
Species Alnus maritima
, to 10 m
; crowns narrow. Bark
light gray, smooth
small, inconspicuous. Winter buds
2.5--5 mm, apex rounded
1--3 mm; scales
poorly developed, heavily resin-coated. Leaf blade
, or narrowly obovate
, 4.5--9 × 2--5 cm, leathery, base
acute to cuneate, margins
flat, teeth low, single, relatively distant
apex acute, obtuse
, or rounded; surfaces abaxially mostly glabrous
resin-coated when young. Inflorescences: catkins formed during same
as flowering; staminate
catkins in 1 terminal
2--6 cm; pistillate
catkins solitary in leaf axils
catkins. Flowering in late summer or early fall
ovoid, 1.2--2.8 × 1.2--2.2 cm; peduncles 5--10 mm.
reduced to narrow, leathery ridges
. 2 n = 28. [source]
Alnus maritima consists of widely disjunct populations in Delaware, Maryland, and southern Oklahoma. The populations probably represent remnants of Pleistocene and post-Pleistocene distributions and migrations. It is our only member of the predominantly Asian fall-blooming Alnus subg. Clethropsis. [source]
Flowers: Bloom Period: July, August. • Flower Color: purple, red
Size: 12-15' tall.
Along edges of ponds and small streams , often in standing water ; 0--100 m .
Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 280 meters (0 to 919 feet).
Ecology: A shrub or tree occurring at the edges of ponds , small streams or standing water ..
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a. (map)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- (Engler, 1892) Takhtajan, 1997
- Order: Fagales () - Engler, 1892
- Superorder: Faganae () - (Engler, 1892) Takhtajan, 1997
- Subclass: Rosidae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Spermatopsida () - Brongniart, 1843
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Alnus maritima georgiensis J. A. Schrad. & W. R. Graves • Alnus maritima metoporina (Furlow) E. Murray • Alnus maritima oklahomensis J. A. Schrad. & W. R. Graves • Alnus maritima var. metoporina (Furlow) E. Murray • Alnus metoporina Furlow • Alnus oblongata Regel • Arbust. Amer. • Betula-alnus maritima Marshall
Members of the genus Alnus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 28 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
A. acuminata (Alder) · A. acuminata glabrata (Mexican Alder) · A. cordata (Italian Alder) · A. fallacina (Alder) · A. glutinosa (Black Alder) · A. glutinosa glutinosa (European Black Alder) · A. glutinosa 'Imperialis' (Black Alder) · A. glutinosa 'Pyramidalis' (Black Alder) · A. hirsuta (Manchurian Alder) · A. incana (Gray Alder) · A. incana incana (Speckled Alder) · A. incana rugosa (Gray Alder) · A. incana tenuifolia (Gray Alder) · A. japonica (Japanese Alder) · A. maritima (Seaside Alder) · A. nepalensis (Indian Alder) · A. nitida (West Himalayan Alder) · A. oblongifolia (Arizona Alder) · A. rhombifolia (Alder) · A. rubra (Oregon Alder) · A. rubra f. pinnatisecta (Oregon Alder) · A. serrulata (Alder) · A. viridis (Green Alder) · A. viridis crispa (Green Alder) · A. viridis fruticosa (Green Alder) · A. viridis sinuata (Green Alder) · A. viridis viridis (European Green Alder) · A. x fallacina (Alder)
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- USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL (April 25, 2008)
- World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Release date: November 27, 2009
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998. Alnus maritima. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloadedon 30January2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 04, 2007:
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden
- US National Plant Germplasm System, United States National Plant Germplasm System Collection
- USDA PLANTS, USDA PLANTS Database
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2646006
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Kew-6509
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 14238649
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:294949-1
- GRIN Nomen Number: 2465
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 19467
- International Plant Names Index (IPNI) ID: 9436-2
- IUCN ID: 189959
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: PDBET01030
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: BEMA
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 20578
- Pei-chun Li & Alexei K. Skvortsov "Betulaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 286. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- "Alnus". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- "Alnus maritima". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- Mean = 129.000 meters (423.228 feet), Standard Deviation = 119.600 based on 8 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998. Alnus maritima. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 January 2012. [back]