Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Speckled Alder
Alnus incana

Other common names: Gray Alder, Hoary Alder, Tag Alder

French names: Aulne rugueux

Family: Birch Family (Betulaceae)

Group: Alders

Distinctive features: Shrub; Prominent lenticels (speckles) scattered all over the bark.

Similar species:
  •   European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa) - leaves are roundish and indented at the tips.

  •   Green Alder (Alnus viridis) - leaves are not double-toothed.

  •   Alder-leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia) - not an Alder.

Flowers: Spring

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Toothed;  Roundish, alternate, toothed.

Height: Up to 6 m (20 ft)

Trunk: Prominent lenticels (speckles) scattered all over the bark.

Habitat: Wet Areas;  Wet areas, along stream banks.

Books: Trees in Canada: 300   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Notes: Easily confused with European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa).

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: incana: grey

Photographs: 179 photographs available, of which 8 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

Typical leaf. Note two important characteristics:

1. The tip is pointed, not blunt (European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa) leaves are blunt-tipped, or even indented at the tip).

2. The edges are double-toothed.

Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

Underside of a leaf.

Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

For comparison, here are the leaves of the three Alders:
-Green Alder (Alnus viridis) (L)
-Speckled Alder (Alnus incana) (M)
-European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa) (R).

Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)


Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

Seed catkins. Note the short stalks. European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa) catkins are on long stalks.

Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

Speckled Alder hanging out over a frozen strem in a swamp.

Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)


Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

Another bud.

Range map for Speckled Alder (Alnus incana)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)