|Italian Alder foliage and
immature male catkins
Alnus cordata (Italian alder) is a tree or shrub species belonging to the family of Betulaceae and native to southern Apennine Mountains (Campania, Basilicata and Calabria, mainly on western mountain sides) and north-eastern mountains of Corsica. It has been introduced in Sicily and Sardinia and more recently in Central-North Italy, other European countries (France, Belgium, Spain, Azores, United Kingdom) and extra-European countries (Chile, New Zaeland), where it has become naturalised.
It is a medium-sized tree growing up to 25 m tall (exceptionally to 28 m), with a trunk up to 70–100 cm diameter. The leaves are deciduous but with a very long season in leaf, from April to December in the Northern Hemisphere; they are alternate, cordate (heart-shaped), rich glossy green, 5–12 cm long, with a finely serrated margin.
The slender cylindrical male catkins are pendulous, reddish and up to 10 cm long; pollination is in early spring, before the leaves emerge. The female catkins are ovoid, when mature in autumn 2–3 cm long and 1.5–2 cm broad, dark green to brown, hard, woody, and superficially similar to some conifer cones. The small winged seeds disperse through the winter, leaving the old woody, blackish 'cones' on the tree for up to a year after.
Like other alders, it is able to fix nitrogen from the air. It thrives on much drier soils than most other alders, and grows rapidly even under very unfavourable circumstances, which renders it extremely valuable for landscape planting on difficult sites such as mining spoil heaps and heavily compacted urban sites. It is commonly grown as a windbreak.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Gamisans, J. (1983). L'Aulne à feuilles en coeur Alnus cordata (Loisel.) Loisel. dans son milieu naturel en Corse. ENGREF, Ecole nationale du génie rural, des eaux et des forêts, Nancy (FRA).
- Caudullo, G., Mauri, A., 2016. Alnus cordata in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz, J., de Rigo, D., Caudullo, G., Houston Durrant, T., Mauri, A. (Eds.), European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, pp. e015443+
- Camarda, I. (1982). Note su alberi e arbusti della Sardegna. Bollettino della Società sarda di scienze naturali, Vol. 21: 323-331
- Salvatore Cambria, Flora e Vegetazione della Sicilia: Alnus cordata (Loisel.) Duby. Accessed on July 2016
- Shaw, K., Wilson, B. & Roy , S. 2014. Alnus cordata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T194657A2356349. . Downloaded on 15 July 2016
- Rushforth, Keith (1986) . Bäume [Pocket Guide to Trees] (in German) (2nd ed.). Bern: Hallwag AG. p. 91. ISBN 3-444-70130-6.
- "Alnus cordata AGM". The Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- D'Cruz, Mark. "Ma-Ke Bonsai Care Guide for Alnus cordata". Ma-Ke Bonsai. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alnus cordata.|