Typically, around the first or second week in February, hazel alder blooms here in our wetland. This year, the deciduous shrub with simple alternate fine-toothed leaves, long yellowish male catkins and dainty red female flowers was in full display in mid January.
Hazel alder likes to grow along streams, lakes, and ponds and may reach 10 or 15 feet in height.
The fruit or seeds of the plant, which mature in the fall, are contained within small cones (about 1/2”) that look much like tiny pine cones. The cones remain on the shrub throughout the winter into spring, but may persist all the way to the following winter.
Hazel alder (Alnus serrulata) is an eastern shrub and ranges from Maine to northern Florida.
Our alders (three of them) are on the north side of the wetlands.
Look for the catkins and cones.