Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hazel Alder - Alnus serrulata   (Aiton) Willdenow
Members of Betulaceae:
Members of Alnus with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Fagales » Family Betulaceae
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Author(Aiton) Willdenow
DistributionThroughout the state, and certainly occurs in all 100 counties.

This is a widespread Eastern species occurring from eastern Canada to central FL, and to eastern TX. It is scarce to absent in the Great Lakes states.
AbundanceCommon to very common nearly throughout, normally seen daily by an observer anywhere in the state. Slightly less common in the far northeastern counties, though it certainly does occur in all counties north of Albemarle Sound.
HabitatThe species is typically found in wetlands, of many kinds. It favors fresh marshes and their edges, pond margins, wet thickets, streamsides (even in open country), openings in swamps and bottomlands, and other damp ground, usually where the soil is moderately rich and not overly sandy. It does occur slightly into uplands, though usually close to wetlands.
PhenologyBlooms in February and March, and fruits from August to October. Catkins that will flower the next year appear in the previous fall season and are visible in winter.
IdentificationThis is a deciduous shrub with alternate leaves, that grows to an average height of 8-12 feet high. The leaves are widely ovate to obovate (and can be elliptic), to about 3-4 inches long. They are strongly serrate, and the leaves show a strong series of parallel veins leaving the midvein. For most of the year either the long catkins or the small elliptical “cones”, which look like tiny pine cones, are visible and provide easy identification. Most people quickly become familiar with this very common shrub along streams or other wetlands.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)This species has several nearly equally used common names. Tag Alder is often used, as is Smooth Alder.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieSame place, June 2015. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieWhispering Pines, shore of Thagard Lake, 18 Feb 2018. MoorePhoto_natural
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