Alnus incana is known under the common name Grey Alder or sometimes speckled alder. It is a species of deciduous tree in the birch family with a ride range across the cooler parts of the northern hemisphere. It is a medium sized tree reaching around 20 meters in height. It not only produces seed but also puts up numerous suckers. It does well on poor soils, particularly wet areas and is fast growing but demands good light. The seeds are eaten by birds such as siskins and redpolls and its leaves browsed by deer.
Yellow-brown male catkins are produced in late winter or early spring, in pendent clusters, before the leaves flush. The oval fruit are produced in summer.
Funky Facts File: The Zuni people of North America use the bark of the tenuifolia subspecies to dye deerskin reddish brown; other native Americans, the Ho-Chunk people eat the bark to settle stomach upsets.