Alder - almost a chameleon
Anyone who had to chop an alder saw that, having passed a dark gray smooth bark, the blade of an ax exposes its reddish-orange bast, which immediately changes its color to brown-brown, and then to dark purple. Alder wood is also distinguished by this property. Just cut, it is white, after a few moments it starts to turn red, and when it dries, it becomes a delicate pink color. But the ability to change the color of wood is only one of many interesting features of an alder called black (the bark of old trees is dark) or sticky (young buds, shoots and sticky leaves).
Black alder, or Alder sticky, or Alder European (Alnus glutinosa) - a species of trees of the genus Alder (Alnus) of the Birch family (Betulaceae).
Not a single breed forms such dense, dark, and even unsafe plantings for people. It is not easy to admire the beauty of the alder. Overgrown with dense tall grass, among which there are angry nettles and shoots of untouched seeds, the gloomy alder hides insidious sections of a deep bog. Then just look under your feet and have time to fight off annoying mosquitoes.
And the alder lifted a slender trunk-column, almost 30 meters high, which is crowned by a small greenish shiny crown, which is barely audible with a distant peak. Only in late autumn does the alder lose its outfit, and what is remarkable is that the leaves fall completely green. In alder, birch or spruce is only an occasional guest, and bird cherry and viburnum always remain at the edge.
In general, the picture is very gloomy for a person who is not too familiar with the forest. The arborist is more optimistic. Impassable thicket? But its hectare gives up to 500 cubic meters of very valuable wood. In addition, alder is a rare soil enricher: it forms nodules on the roots with bacteria that absorb nitrogen from the air.
Alder breeds rapidly. Its stumps give whole bouquets of fast-growing shoots that can grow by 1.5-2 meters in the first year, and eventually reach the size of their predecessors. However, alder seed prevails. In the early spring, brown-brown, similar to birch, catkins lengthen, swell and release clouds of yellow pollen.
Caught up and scattered by the wind, it pollinates red small inflorescences of female flowers on neighboring trees. Use this period and bees, vigorously collecting alder pollen to feed the baby. Fertilized flowers form small cones, which in the spring of next year scatter into hundreds of thousands of nut seeds about 2 millimeters in size.
Opening the cones coincides with the spring flood. The spill facilitates the dispersal of alder seeds over long distances. Holding well on the water, they float along it for a long time until they settle on the shore, where they sprout.
About 30 species include the alder genus, of which 12 grow on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Foresters consider the most “bold” among domestic species alder shrubby: it endures the conditions of the Arctic, grows throughout the forest-tundra, and sometimes in the tundra.
You cannot refuse courage and alder bearded, having settled in the most marshy and perishing places of the swampy Colchis. Yes and alpine Nepalese very unpretentious. It generously populated the rocky slopes of the Eastern Himalayas. The most valuable species in our country is nevertheless considered black alder, distributed almost everywhere in the European part of Russia and often extending beyond the Urals up to the Yenisei. Its beautiful, pinkish, silky-gloss wood is easy to process and very polished. It is especially readily used for the manufacture of musical instruments and dug utensils. Charcoal from black alder wood is used for drawing and equipping anti-chemical protective equipment.
Due to their decorativeness, both black and other species and forms of alder are planted in parks near rivers, lakes, ponds. It remains to be added that alder fruits are the favorite food of siskins and tapas.
So our acquaintance with an interesting tree took place, which foresters often say: "almost a chameleon."
Material used: S. I. Ivchenko - Book about trees