Alnus nitida

 

Botanical Name: Alnus nitida
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Alnus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms : Clethropsis nitida.

Habitat :Alnus nitida is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows by rivers and streams, 600 – 1200 metres, occasionally to 2700 metres.

Description:
Alnus nitida is a deciduous Tree growing 20 m or more tall. Young shoots pubescent, becoming glabrescent when old. Leaves ovate to elliptic-ovate, 5-15 cm x 3-9 cm, acute or acuminate, remotely serrate to sub-serrate, pubescent to pilose, often villous at the angles of the veins on the under surface, base cuneate to rounded; petiole 1-4 cm long, glabrous to pubescent. Male flowers in catkins, up to 19 cm long; peduncle 5-6.5 mm long; bract c. 1.2 mm long, more or less ovate, bracteoles smaller, suborbiculate. Tepals oblong-obovate to spathulate, c. l mm long, apex and margin minutely toothed. Anthers c. 1 mm long, filament slightly shorter than the tepals, scarcely forked. Female flowers in erect ‘woody cones’, 3-3.5 cm x c. 1.2 cm; bract broadly ovate, bracteoles suborbiculate. Styles 2, linear. Fruiting scale 5-lobed, 5-6 mm long, apex obliquely truncate. Nut 2.5-4 mm long, fringed by the narrow and more or less leathery wings.

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It is in flower in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.

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 dry moist or wet soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates drier soils than most members of this genus. Succeeds in very infertile sites. Trees probably tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c and so will not succeed outdoors in the colder areas of the country. A very ornamental tree. 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.

Propagation:
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.

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the bark is applied externally to treat swellings and body pains.

Other Uses: Tannin is obtained from the bark, it is used in dyeing. Wood – soft, even grained, hard to cut. Used for construction and furniture

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alder
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242420274
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alnus+nitida

 

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