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In early spring, the buds of the alder are the first heralds of spring. Not only do the buds have an interesting look, their further development over the course of the year is also very remarkable. Learn more about the alder and its buds in this article.

The buds often appear as early as January

Characteristics of the buds of different alder species

Heartleaf Alder

  • brown-red
  • hang on smooth branches
  • glittering

Gray Alder

  • smooth
  • greyish
  • slightly hairy

purple alder

  • gray to green

Red alder

  • red to brown
  • tapering
  • narrow
  • lateral buds stick out

Black alder

A special feature is the black alder, whose buds are very eye-catching. Their bud scales are glued together and have a reddish-brown color. The protruding side buds even turn purple. The helical arrangement on the branch is particularly striking. Initially, the buds of the black alder are about six centimeters long. When expelled, their length doubles.

Later flowering and cone formation

The buds of the alder appear quite early, long before the leaves sprout. Catkins will later sprout from the buds, some of which will begin to bloom as early as the end of February. These are either male or female, but the alder has both sexes. The deciduous tree is pollinated by the wind. But that's not all with the special features, because the alder is the only deciduous tree that has cones. Surely you have seen the lignified, black globules before. They make it easy to distinguish the alder from other deciduous trees, especially in winter. Because the cones stick to the branches until next spring. They contain small seeds that are sometimes eaten by birds. However, the seeds will rot quite quickly unless they fall on moist soil, which is necessary for germination.

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