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.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Our native tree species, such as Common Alder, provide important links in the food chain for many animals, as well as areas for shelter and nesting. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.