Plant DetailShow Menu

Manchurian Alder Alnus hirsuta

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Alnus incana var. hirsuta
  • Alnus incana var. sibirica
  • Alnus inokumai
  • Alnus sibirica
  • Alnus tinctoria
Phonetic Spelling
AL-nus her-SOO-tuh
Description

The Manchurian Alder is a member of the birch family, and it is also commonly known as the Siberian Alder. It is a medium-sized, deciduous, upright tree that is native to Japan, Korea, Manchuria, Siberia, and the Russian Far East. The genus name, Alnus, is Latin for Alder. The species name, hirsuta, is Latin for coarsely hairy. The tree has smooth gray bark and dark green foliage with a low canopy. It has dangling catkins that appear in the spring before the leaves emerge. The individual flowers are either male or female. Brown cone-like fruits appear in the fall. The Manchurian Alder is planted to improve soil, control erosion, and provide shade and shelter. The wood is used for building agricultural tools or furniture. It also may be used for fuelwood or making charcoal. The tree is typically found in elevations of 2500 to 5000 feet near small rivers, bogs, springs, or wet places at the foot of mountains. The tree roots add nitrogen to the soil by forming a relationship with certain soil micro-organisms. The Manchurian Alder grows well in clay soil and infertile soil.  It adapts easily from the soil that is dry to soil with some standing water.  It is the most drought-tolerant of all Alders. It is most closely related to Alnus incanaAlnus x mayrii  (Alder) is a hybrid of Alnus hirsuta (Manchurian Alder) and Alnus japonica (Japanese Alder). Possible pests of this variety of trees may include Ussuri Oyster Shell Scale, Asian Ambrosia Beetle, and the Black and White Long Horn Beetle. No known significant diseases affect the Manchurian Alder.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Prairie Horizon'
    'Prairie Horizon' is fairly tolerant of urban pollution, tolerates dry soil to standing water, and adaptable to different soils
'Prairie Horizon'
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#winter interest#fall interest#poor soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#wet soil intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Prairie Horizon'
    'Prairie Horizon' is fairly tolerant of urban pollution, tolerates dry soil to standing water, and adaptable to different soils
'Prairie Horizon'
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#winter interest#fall interest#poor soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#wet soil intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Alnus
    Species:
    hirsuta
    Family:
    Betulaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The tree is used to control erosion, soil improvement, and shade and shelter. Its wood may be used for building furniture or agricultural tools as well as for fuelwood or making charcoal.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan, Korea, Manchuria, Siberia, and Russian Far East
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tough adaptable plant. Resistant to diseases, drought, dry or wet soil, and prevents erosion.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The female catkin develops small wood cones measuring 3/4 inches long by 1/2 inch wide. Inside the cones are winged seeds that are released in the fall when they have matured. The cones remain on the tree through the winter months and in the next growing season.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The Manchurian Alder produces male and female florets on the same tree. The catkins are long, purple in color, and droop below the tree branches. The blooming period occurs in March and April before the leaves emerge. The florets are cross-pollinated by the wind. The female catkins remain on the tree throughout the summer then in the fall, the female catkins release seeds.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Doubly Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The tree leaf is glossy green in color, ovate in shape with a rounded base, and has doubly toothed margins. It measures approximately 2.5 inches x 5 inches in length and nearly the same in width. The upper surface is slightly hairy. The underside of the leaf surface is downy and has a reddish-brown color along the midribs and veins. In the fall the leaves turn yellow in color. During the winter the leaves may drop off or just wither on the tree.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray, smooth, and adds interest to the landscape.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The young shoots of the tree are hairy at first. The winter buds are egg-shaped, hairy, and purplish in color. The stem color is gray.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Erosion
    Wet Soil