Botanical Name : Alnus nepalensis
Species: A. nepalensis
Common Names: Utis in Nepali and Nepalese alder in English.
Habitat : Alnus nepalensis occurs throughout the Himalaya at 500–3000 m of elevation from Pakistan through Nepal and Bhutan to Yunnan in southwest China. It grows best on deep volcanic loamy soils, but also grows on clay, sand and gravel. It tolerates a wide variety of soil types and grows well in very wet areas. It needs plenty of moisture in the soil and prefers streamside locations, but also grows on slopes.
Alnus nepalensis is a large deciduous alder tree with silver-gray bark that reaches up to 30 m in height and 60 cm in diameter. The leaves are alternate, simple, shallowly toothed, with prominent veins parallel to each other, 7–16 cm long and 5–10 cm broad. The flowers are catkins, with the male and female flowers separate but produced on the same tree. The male flowers are 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 in) long and pendulous, while the female flowers are erect, 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 in), with up to eight together in axillary racemes. Unusually for an alder, they are produced in the autumn, with the seeds maturing the following year.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in very infertile sites. The Nepalese alder is reported to tolerate clay, flooding, fog, gravel, sand, shade, slope, water-logging, and weeds. It is not tolerant of high winds. Grows best in deep well-drained loams or loamy soils of alluvial soils, but ranges from gravel to sand to clay. Prefers an annual rainfall estimated at 50 – 250cm, an annual average temperature in the range of 19 – 23°C, and a pH of 6 – 8. This species is possibly only hardy in the milder areas of Britain. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.
A useful diuretic for reducing swelling of the leg. The juice of the bark is boiled and the gelatinous liquid applied to burns.
Dye; Fuel; Soil stabilization; Wood.
The bark contains 7% tannin, it is used in dyeing and tanning. It is used to deepen the red colour of madder, Rubia cordifolia. A fast growing species, it is suitable for plantation cultivation in tropical uplands. The tree is locally cultivated by West Java Forest Service to reforest eroded slopes under ever-wet climates. The tree establishes rapidly on areas subject to landslides, binding the soil with its extensive root system and stabilizig the slope. Wood – soft, tough, even grained, rather durable, easily sawn, seasons well and does not warp. It is used to a limited extent in carpentry, house construction, tea boxes, for making furniture, rope bridges etc. A very good timber, it deserves to be more widely used. In India the trees are coppiced every two years for fuel.
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