Plant Guide > Trees > Alders > Oregon Alder or Red Alder Tree

Oregon Alder or Red Alder Tree

Oregon Alder or Red Alder TreeThe Oregon, or Red Alder (A. Oregona, Nutt.), is a large tree for an alder, sometimes 80 feet in height, with a narrow pyramid of drooping branches about a trunk that may exceed 3 feet in diameter. The smooth, pale grey bark of this tree sets it apart from other alders. The flowers and strobiles are large to match the tree; the ovate leaves are crenately lobed and finely cut toothed. They are lined with rusty pubescence, and are usually smooth and dark green above.

This is the alder of the Western coast that climbs mountains until it leaves the spruces behind, but reaches its greatest size about Puget Sound. From Sitka south through Washington and Oregon it lines the stream borders, and along the mountains it reaches as far as Santa Barbara in California. It loves also the canon sides in the coast range.

The reddish-brown wood is beautifully satiny when polished. It is light and easily worked, and though weak and brittle is made into furniture. The Indians make "dug-outs" of the butts of large trees.