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Caucasian Alder

Alnus subcordata

Champion tree
  • Accession number: 1000-306
  • Native to: Iran, Caucasus
  • Common names: Caucasian Alder
  • Height County Champion of Gloucestershire

The Caucasian alder is native to Iran and the Caucasus mountains, where it grows in river valleys and gorges. Planted in a prominent position and with a beautiful spiralling growth, this is one of our favourite trees.

Flowering remarkably early in the year, in early January the tree is decorated in slender ornamental catkins. These are the male flowers, though if you look closely you can also see the much smaller, but equally as beautiful, red female flowers. These female flowers develop into the woody cone like structures we commonly associate with alders.

The large glossy green leaves are almost heart-shaped, which is reflected in it’s epithet – subcordata, derived from the Latin sub meaning ‘below’ and cordata meaning ‘heart shaped’. The species is closely related to the Italian alder (Alnus cordata).

Whilst working in the area we have also found Frankia bacteria, which forms on root nodules, helping fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into nitrates for the tree to consume.

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Through sponsoring one of these incredible specimens, you’ll be making a substantial gift to the arboretum, ensuring it is cared for and supported for generations to come.