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  • Alnus glutinosa (Photo: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
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  • Alnus glutinosa (Photo: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database)
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Common name
sticky alder (English), swartels (Afrikaans), common alder (English), black alder (English), alder (English), European black alder (English), European alder (English)
Synonym
Alnus alnus , (L.) Britt.
Alnus rotundifolia , Miller
Betula alnus glutinosa , L.
Betula glutinosa , L. Lam.
Alnus barbata , C.A. Mey.
Similar species
Summary
Alnus glutinosa is a member of the birch family (Betulaceae) and is native to Eurasia and the northern part of Africa. Members of the Alnus genus are commonly known as alders; A. glutinosa is known as black alder. It can grow up to 50 feet high. It is often cultivated for erosion control, to improve soil and as an ornamental. A. glutinosa is fast growing and can grow in a wide range of soils; this trait increases its invasiveness in susceptible environments. Association with species of the genus Frankia enable A. glutinosa to fix nitrogen (Frankia is a genus of nitrogen fixing filamentous bacteria that live in symbiosis with actinorhizal plants and form root nodules, similar to Rhizobia). A. glutinosa invades damp ecosystems near water sources, wetalnds and riparian zones.
Species Description
Alnus glutinosa is a member of the birch family (Betulaceae); members of the genus Alnus are commonly known as alders; A. glutinosa is commonly known as black alder. A. glutinosa is quick growing tree, with a relatively short life span - up to 160 years. Trunk may be single or multi-stemmed, with a smooth greyish-green bark that turns a speckled grayish-brown, with warty horizontal stripes and irregular, shallow fissures. Flowers appear before the emergence of leaves, in early spring; A. glutinosa is monoecious. Male flowers are catkins that are slender, reddish-brown and 2.5 - 3.8 cm in length, while females flowers are reddish-brown cone-like catkins around 4 mm, and cluster near branch tipes in groups of 2 - 5. Leaves, when young, are gummy, and develop into leathery, dark green, oval-to-orbicular shape, with serrated edges. Leaves are blunt-tipped and are 5 - 12.5cm x 5 - 10cm in dimension. Fruit form in autumn, initially as green, cone-like woody catkins around 2cm long. These ripen to brown and contain many, small, winged nutlets. The root system is nodulated and dense, and can be fairly shallow. (Cao 2009; Claessens et al. 2010; Funk 2005; McVean 1953; USDA Forest Service 2006).
Lifecycle Stages
Alnus glutinosa have the potential to immediately germinate, however, stratification (six weeks) increases germination success. The optimum conditions for A. glutinosa seed germination occur at pH 4 and 25 °C in either light or dark. Once germinated, seedlings are susceptible to low soil oxygen status and drought. Maturity takes 3 - 30 years, depending on ecotype and environment. A. glutinosa is relatively short-lived, with a lifespan of up to 160 years. (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2005; Claessens et al. 2010; McVean 1953)
Uses
Alnus glutinosa has various environmental uses, including erosion control, soil improvement and as an ornamental. It is also used for building materials (wood) and as a traditional medicine. (USDA-ARS 2010). Alders have been recommended for afforestation of disturbed areas throughout much of the temperate world. Establishing European alder on mined sites apparently improves their suitability for earthworm habitat. (Funk 2005). A. glutinosa can be used as a nurse crop for high-value species that are sensitive to nitrogen input to increase nitrification of the soil, e.g. black walnut (Juglans nigra) in Illinois, U.S.A (Bohanek & Groninger 2005). The nurse crop (i.e.A. glutinosa) can also be thinned from plantations, and sold for commercial gain. It assists with water filtration and purification in waterlogged soils (Peterjohn and Correll, 1984; Pinay and Labroue, 1986; Schnitzler and Carbiener, 1993), and the root system helps to control floods and stabilize riverbanks (Piégay et al., 2003). It is also thought to be a suitable species in the restoration of functional alluvial ecosystems (Schäfer and Joosten, 2005), for example in transforming spruce and poplar plantations to more natural stands. Claessens et al. 2010. In the Netherlands, A. glutinosa protects river banks from erosion and also aids in maintaining water nutrient status and temperature (Claessens et al. 2010).

In its native range, A. glutinosa is valuable for wildlife. It can contribute to biodiversity by providing habitats for a specific flora and fauna both on the tree itself and in the flooded root system (Dussart, 1999). In addition, both the leaves and the cones are a food source for animals. Seed-eating birds rely on the tree over the winter, as the cones open gradually over winter, releasing seed (Funk 2005). A. glutinosa also provides food for deer, rabbits and hares is recommended as shelter for pheasants (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2005; Funk 2005).

Habitat Description
Alnus glutinosa is able to grow in a variety of habitats and in most soils. While tolerating dry soils, it prefers moist, damp conditions, especially near water sources. It commonly grows in riparian zones, wetlands, along ponds and lakes. It also grows in forests (including early successional forests, forest edges), forest wetlands and in urban areas. Association with species of the genus Frankia enable A. glutinosa to fix nitrogen (Frankia is a genus of nitrogen fixing filamentous bacteria that live in symbiosis with actinorhizal plants and form root nodules, similar to Rhizobia). Its ability to fix nitrogen means it can grow on poor soils with low nutrient status. A. glutinosa can also grow on both acidic and basic soils, with a pH range of 4.2 - 7.5. Mature trees are frost hardy (to -54 °C), but 130 frost-free days are required for successful reproduction and growth. It is not very tolerant of shade and prefers full sunlight. (Claessens et al. 2010; Funk 2005; McVean 1953; USDA Forest Service 2006).
Reproduction
While Alnus glutinosa can reproduce sexually and vegetatively, reproduction occurs predominately by seed (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2005). Once alders mature - 3 - 30 years (depending on ecotype and environment) they produce prolific amounts of seed every three or four years, with an average of 240,000 per tree (Claessens et al. 2010). Cut stump are known to resprout, and fallen green branches have been observed to take root in soft, swampy wetland areas (McVean 1953). Additionally, A. glutinosa can be readily propagated by tissue culture (Tremblay et al. 1984, in Funk 2005). Root suckers are rare (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2005).
Pathway
Erosion control

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Auckland Regional Council (ARC)

Review:

Publication date: 2010-08-27

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2017) Species profile: Alnus glutinosa. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1669 on 29-05-2017.

General Impacts
Alnus glutinosa can form dense monospecific stands fairly quickly (< 10 years) that exclude other species. In the wetlands, it creates a higher degree of shade that can inhibit the growth of some native species. The dense root network can increase the accumulation of sediments and alter water flow.

A. glutinosa can alter soil nutrient status. A symbiosis exists between A. glutinosa and Frankia sp. (Frankia is a genus of nitrogen fixing filamentous bacteria that live in symbiosis with actinorhizal plants and form root nodules, similar to Rhizobia); allowing A. glutinosa to fix atmospheric nitrogen (Bond et al. 1954). The ability to provide its own source of nitrogen enables A. glutinosa to grow on a wide range of soils and increases its invasiveness. Nodulation can occur is most of these soil conditions, but occurs best at pH 5.5 – 7.2 (Griffiths & McCormick 1984). This nitrification process increases the nitrogen status of the soil, which is also contributed to by leaf fall and decomposition (Claessens et al. 2010). The availability of phosphorous in the soil is also increased (Giardina et al. 1995).

A. glutinosa readily hybridises with other alder species, and known hybrids include A. glutinosa x A. rubra, A. cordata x A. glutinosa and A. glutinosa x A. orientalis (Funk 2005).

While several diseases and pests associated A. glutinosa exist, one of the most notable is the fungus Phytophthora alni, which has been spreading through alder populations in Europe since the 1990's (Claessens et al. 2010; Funk 2005). Trees present on river banks and near water are the most susceptible, as the presence of free water is necessary fot the development and transport of P. alni (Chandelier et al., 2006; Gibbs et al. 1999). Symptoms of the disease include dead roots, dead bark, small yellow-ish leaves and tar-coloured spots on trunk bases, and over the following years, branches die and death of the tree can occur (Claessens et al. 2010).

Management Info
Alnus glutinosa can be successfully controlled by a combination of physical and chemical means. Trees are often felled and the stumps treated with herbicides. However, follow-up procedures are necessary as A. glutinosa is known to resprout. A. glutinosa is not affected by low rates of the pre-emergence herbicide pendimethalin but is damaged by higher concentrations (2.0 kg a.i. ha–1) and above), as well as by napropamide. Other effective herbicides include glyphosate (stump treatment) and triclopyr triethylamine (foliar application). (Champion et al. 2008; Funk 2005; Kelly & Southwood 2006a,b; Willoughby et al. 2007).
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Alnus glutinosa
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • albania
  • algeria
  • austria
  • belarus
  • belgium
  • bulgaria
  • czech republic
  • denmark
  • ex-yugoslavia
  • finland
  • france
  • germany
  • greece
  • hungary
  • iran, islamic republic of
  • ireland
  • italy
  • kazakhstan
  • morocco
  • netherlands
  • norfolk island
  • norway
  • poland
  • portugal
  • romania
  • russian federation
  • spain
  • sweden
  • switzerland
  • tunisia
  • turkey
  • ukraine
  • united kingdom
Informations on Alnus glutinosa has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Alnus glutinosa in information
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Invasiveness
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Occurrence
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Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
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Impact information
Alnus glutinosa can form dense monospecific stands fairly quickly (< 10 years) that exclude other species. In the wetlands, it creates a higher degree of shade that can inhibit the growth of some native species. The dense root network can increase the accumulation of sediments and alter water flow.

A. glutinosa can alter soil nutrient status. A symbiosis exists between A. glutinosa and Frankia sp. (Frankia is a genus of nitrogen fixing filamentous bacteria that live in symbiosis with actinorhizal plants and form root nodules, similar to Rhizobia); allowing A. glutinosa to fix atmospheric nitrogen (Bond et al. 1954). The ability to provide its own source of nitrogen enables A. glutinosa to grow on a wide range of soils and increases its invasiveness. Nodulation can occur is most of these soil conditions, but occurs best at pH 5.5 – 7.2 (Griffiths & McCormick 1984). This nitrification process increases the nitrogen status of the soil, which is also contributed to by leaf fall and decomposition (Claessens et al. 2010). The availability of phosphorous in the soil is also increased (Giardina et al. 1995).

A. glutinosa readily hybridises with other alder species, and known hybrids include A. glutinosa x A. rubra, A. cordata x A. glutinosa and A. glutinosa x A. orientalis (Funk 2005).

While several diseases and pests associated A. glutinosa exist, one of the most notable is the fungus Phytophthora alni, which has been spreading through alder populations in Europe since the 1990's (Claessens et al. 2010; Funk 2005). Trees present on river banks and near water are the most susceptible, as the presence of free water is necessary fot the development and transport of P. alni (Chandelier et al., 2006; Gibbs et al. 1999). Symptoms of the disease include dead roots, dead bark, small yellow-ish leaves and tar-coloured spots on trunk bases, and over the following years, branches die and death of the tree can occur (Claessens et al. 2010).

Red List assessed species 0:
Mechanism
[5] Competition
Outcomes
[7] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [5] Reduction in native biodiversity
  • [1] Habitat degradation
  • [1] Soil or sediment modification: modification of structure
[4] Environmental Species - Population
  • [4] Reduces/inhibits the growth of other species
Management information
Alnus glutinosa can be successfully controlled by a combination of physical and chemical means. Trees are often felled and the stumps treated with herbicides. However, follow-up procedures are necessary as A. glutinosa is known to resprout. A. glutinosa is not affected by low rates of the pre-emergence herbicide pendimethalin but is damaged by higher concentrations (2.0 kg a.i. ha–1) and above), as well as by napropamide. Other effective herbicides include glyphosate (stump treatment) and triclopyr triethylamine (foliar application). (Champion et al. 2008; Funk 2005; Kelly & Southwood 2006a,b; Willoughby et al. 2007).
Bibliography
59 references found for Alnus glutinosa

Managment information
ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands (ACT PCL) 2009. Weeds & invertebrate pests management guidelines 2009-10.
Summary: Available from: http://www.tams.act.gov.au [Accessed 20 August 2010]
Chambers, F. M. and L. Elliott, 1989. Spread and Expansion of Alnus Mill. In the British Isles: Timing, Agencies and Possible Vectors. Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 16, No. 6 (Nov., 1989), pp. 541-550
Champion, P. D.; James, T. K.; Carney, E. C., 2008. Evaluation of Triclopyr Trithylamine for the Control of Wetland Weeds. New Zealand Plant Protection. 61 2008. 374-377.
Christchurch City Council (CCC) 2010. Canterbury weed guide - Alder.
Summary: Available from: http://ccc.govt.nz [Accessed 19 August 2010]
Eckel, P. M., 2003. Two problems in Betulaceae along the Niagara River: Alnus glutinosa and Betula cordifolia. Reprinted from Clintonia 18(4): 3-4. 2003.
Summary: Available from: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/ResBot/Repr/Clintonia_Alnus_2003.pdf [Accessed 9 August 2010]
Heenan, P. B.; de Lange, P. J.; Rance, B. D.; Sykes, W. R.; Meurk, C. D.; Korver, M. A., 2009. Additional records of indigenous and naturalised plants with observations on the distribution of Gunnera tinctoria, on Stewart Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 47(1). MAR 2009. 1-7.
Higman & Campbell 2009. Meeting the challenge of invasive plants: A framework for action
Northland Regional Council (NRC) undated. Trees for the land.
Summary: Available from: http://www.nrc.govt.nz [Accessed 19 August 2010]
Pheloung P. 2004. Weed Risk Assessment. Application to measure weed potential.
Summary: Available from: http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au [Accessed 20 August 2010]
South Australia Water (SA Water) undated. Tree Planting Guide.
Summary: Available from: http://www.sawater.sa.gov.au [Accessed 20 August 2010]
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2007. Tennessee s native plant alternatives to exotic invasives.
Summary: Available from: http://www.tneppc.org [Accessed 18 August 2010]
Territory & Municipal Services Australian Capital Territories (TAMS ACT) 2007. Are your garden plants going bush?
Summary: Available from: http://www.tams.act.gov.au [Accessed 20 August 2010]
USDA Forest Service 2006. Weed of the week: European Alder.
Summary: Available from: http://www.na.fs.fed.us [Accessed 18 August 2010]
Waitakere City Council (WCC) 2010. Invasive or environmental weeds of Waitakere.
Summary: Available from: http://www.waitakere.govt.nz/cnlser/pw/plantweed/pdf/weedlist-env-inv.pdf [Accessed July 15 2010]
Willoughby, I.; Dixon, F. L.; Clay, D. V.; Jinks, R. L., 2007. Tolerance of broadleaved tree and shrub seedlings to preemergence herbicides. New Forests. 34(1). JUL 2007. 1-12.
General information
Adam S Davis, Roger D Cousens, Jason Hill, Richard N Mack, Daniel Simberloff, and S Raghu. 2010. Screening bioenergy feedstock crops to mitigate invasion risk. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (e-View)
Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2005. European alder Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaerth.
Summary: Available from: http://akweeds.uaa.alaska.edu/pdfs/potential_species/bios/Species_bios_ALGL.pdf [Accessed 9 August 2010]
Bohanek, James R. and John W. Groninger, 2005. Productivity of European black alder (Alnus glutinosa) interplanted with black walnut (Juglans nigra) in illinois, U.S.A.. Agroforestry Systems (2005) 64: 99�106
Bond G., Fletcher W.W., Ferguson T.P. 1954. The development and function of the root nodules of Alnus, Myrica and Hippopha�. Plant and Soil 5: 309-323.
Cao L. 2010. Alnus glutinosa. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL.
Summary: Available from: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2696 [Accessed 9 August 2010]
Castro S.A., Figueroa J.A., Mu�oz-Schick M., Jaksic F.M. 2005. Minimum residence time, biogeographical origin, and life cycle as determinants of the geographical extent of naturalized plants in continental Chile. Diversity and Distributions 11: 183�191.
Chandelier A., Abras S., Laurent F., Debruxelles N., Cavelier M. 2006. Effect of temperature and bacteria on sporulation of Phytophthora alni in river water.Communications in Agricultural and Applied Biological Sciences 71: 873�880.
Claessens, Hugues; Oosterbaan, Anne; Savill, Peter; Rondeux, Jacques, 2010. A review of the characteristics of black alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.) and their implications for silvicultural practices. Forestry (Oxford). 83(2). APR 2010. 163-175.
Giardina C., Huffmans S., Binkley D., Caldwell B. 1995. Alders increase soil phosphorus availability in a Douglas-fir plantation. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 25: 1652�1657.
Gibbs J.N., Lipscombe M.A., Peace A.J. 1999. The impact of Phytophthora disease on riparian populations of common alder (Alnus glutinosa) in southern Britain. European Journal of Forest Pathology 29: 39-50.
Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW) 2001. Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.
Summary: Available from: http://hear.org/gcw/ [Accessed 18 August 2010]
Griffiths A., McCormick L. 1984. Effects of soil acidity on nodulation of Alnus glutinosa and viability of Frankia. Plant and Soil 79: 429-434.
Hawke s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) 2005. Sawfly - Attachment III.
Summary: Available from: http://www.hbrc.govt.nz [Accessed 19 August 2010]
Hosking J.R., Conn B.J., Lepschi B.J. 2003. Plant species first recognised as naturalised for New South Wales over the period 2000�2001. Cunninghamia 8: 175�187.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), 2010. Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.
Summary: Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=19470 [Accessed 9 August 2010]
Kodela P.G. 2005. Alnus glutinosa Gaertn. New South Wales Flora Online.
Summary: Available from: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au [Accessed 18 August 2010]
McVean, D. N., 1953. Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. Journal of Ecology, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Aug., 1953), pp. 447-466
Ricciardi A. 2006. Patterns of invasion in the Laurentian Great Lakes in relation to changes in vector activity. Diversity and Distributions 12: 425�433.
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council 1996. Vegetation management manual.
Summary: Available from: http://www.tneppc.org [Accessed 18 August 2010]
World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), 2006. National list of naturalised invasive and potentially invasive garden plants.
Summary: Available from: http://wwf.org.au/publications/ListInvasivePlants/ [Accessed 9 August 2010]
Contact
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