Sitka Alder – Alnus viridis ssp. sinuate
Sitka alder is a small tree (compared to its neighbors) that grows between 3-39 ft, depending on elevation. It is found on the western edge of North America, ranging from Alaska down to northern California. Its eastern-most point reaching northwest Wyoming.
Most Sitka alder trees grow in wetlands but can be found in drier habitats. It typically grows in areas with full-sun exposure and can tolerate small amounts of shade under the forest canopy. Sitka alder is identified by its jagged-edged, yellow-green leaves with a slightly pale and shiny underside. The leaves are rounded at the bottom with pointed tips and grow alternate from each other on the branch. The branches itself are zigzagged and light to reddish brown or grey in color.
Many creatures rely on the Sitka alder as an important resource. Squirrels, muskrats, and rabbits eat the twigs and leaves. Beavers eat the bark and use the stems to build their dams. The seeds and buds are also a critical food source for various bird species during the wintertime. A fairly common local tree, you won’t be hard-pressed to find and identify one.
Seek more knowledge about the Sitka alder:
USDA Facts Sheet