red alder
Alnus rubra

Red alder is the most common and most useful deciduous tree along coastal portions of the Pacific northwest. A pioneer species, Red alder is favored by disturbances such as fire and logging.

Click to see more images.
Light Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Red alder is used for furniture, cabinets, trim, paneling, plywood, pallets, veneer, writing paper, tissue paper, paper roll plugs, etc.


Wildlife Value
      Deer and elk eat the twigs, buds, leaves. Beavers eat the bark and use the wood for dams and lodges. Many birds and rodents eat the seeds.
          Attracts: deer mice, beaver, deer, elk, redpolls, siskins, goldfinches

Regeneration methods
      Traditionally, red alder is not encouraged, compared to more valued western conifer timber sources. Due to nitrogen fixing abilities and speedy juvenile growth, red alder is potentially valuable for crop rotation systems and reclamation and improvement of infertile land.

Fun facts
Red alder is the largest of all the alders and the most abundant hardwood in the U.S. northwest. Intolerant of shade and understory conditions, often forms relatively pure even-aged stands. Wood is used for furniture, wooden utensils, and a variety of minor manufactured products. Red alder coals are used to smoke salmon. In Oregon, reforestation with red alder requires permission from the OR Dept. of Forestry. Important nitrogen-fixing plant.
Alnus: Latin name for alder / rubra: red
Home - I.D. Fact Sheet - USDA Silvics Manual - Additional Silvics - VT Dendro

2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu